2020 dawned with more of the same from Crawley Town as they earned their third draw in five outings.
As this was gained away at promotion chasing Colchester United it was very much a point gained rather than two lost.
The dawning of the new decade didn’t bring any great change for the Reds as they enjoyed the better of the first half but found it difficult to maintain that momentum.
The change of management has yet to bring any significant improvement, especially with regard to finishing, but the lads’ steely resolve has been strengthened further and teams will find it difficult to break us down if that continues.
The only mild controversy to arise from the trip to Essex was whether Crawley’s equalising goal should be credited to Ollie Palmer. The official records show it as an own goal conceded by Luke Prosser but Palmer deserved praise for putting the defender under such pressure – and they all count of course.
The home side made sure that Glenn Morris had to be on top of his game and he stood no chance with Frank Nouble’s fine low strike just inside the post. The keeper remained pre-eminent in a fine team showing. The draw was certainly the right result and Crawley earned the brownie points for ensuring the match was a home banker that Colchester were not allowed to achieve.
It was very much two points lost, however, following another one all draw, against Forest Green Rovers who could and should have been beaten. After taking control Reds gained a half time lead as Bez Lubala profited from the keeper’s over-ambition and some naive defending.
Unfortunately they allowed the visitors back into the game and were pegged back by an unstoppable header from Jordan Tunnicliffe as he attempted a clearance of a pile driver from Nathan McGinley. There was the nub of the problem insofar as there seemed to be no recognition of what was going wrong.
McGinley played virtually unopposed as a left wingback. Switching Panutche Camara and the more defensive Nathan Ferguson might have closed him down but John Yems chose to sub Ferguson in favour of the inventive Tarryn Allarakhia. That might have worked had there been sufficient aggression upfront but Ollie Palmer suffered a wretched afternoon following a bright enough start.
Oddly the improving Ashley Nadesan was hooked instead and the attacking threat was further diminished as Jamie Sendles-White replaced Bez Lubala. The substitute is a good player but he is a centre half not an attacking midfielder. Dismayed supporters in the West Stand thought the managers must have been watching a different game.
As usual Morris kept us in it; Dannie Bulman was Mr Perpetual Motion; referee David Rock progressively lost touch with reality during the second half and the need for work on the training ground to improve quality remains as urgent as ever.