We might have wondered if the Reds were not up for it when the supporters’ coach pulled in to Field Mill before the team bus did.
And after the 187-mile trip it was soon apparent that it was going to be a tough afternoon.
None of them deserved to escape the ‘hair dryer’ treatment after the game and the coaching needs to start with the simple requirement of marking your man.”Crawley Town season ticket holder Geoff Thornton
We have seen it before – especially at home to Rochdale and at Yeovil in the FA Cup last season – when virtually the entire side loses form together.
Manager Mark Yates was unable to explain it post-match but the hard core travelling support had picked up the bad vibes very quickly.
Matt Harrold was up for the fight but he departed early on with a hamstring worry sustained when he was sandwiched between two opponents.
There is no cover for the target man in a paper thin squad.
Jimmy Smith battled tirelessly but lacked the guile to secure any benefit from his challenges. As for the others the match was soon out of their reach.
Some simply couldn’t cope with Mansfield’s up and at ‘em style of play. Lewis Young and Roarie Deacon struggled from the outset to get into the game.
The match was only competitive whilst Harrold was involved and sadly substitute Lee Barnard’s first significant contribution was to give the ball away and set-up Mansfield’s opener.
It would be unfair to lay the blame at Barnard’s feet as Nathan Thomas could have been closed down twice on his run in but the defence, which had looked uncertain, was to be exposed as a shambles in the second period.
None of them deserved to escape the ‘hair dryer’ treatment after the game and the coaching needs to start with the simple requirement of marking your man.
The deserved dismissal of Gwion Edwards was referee Andrew Madley’s only action of note and the Stags took full advantage of his weak display by committing a string of spoiling fouls that infuriated the fans but affected the players more. They simply could not deal with it.
With a three-game ban looming for Edwards and Harrold possibly out of contention the paucity of the squad is highlighted.
The management must make full use of the loan window to add some cover using their negotiating skills to the full. We need to demonstrate we are a professional club that can compete at this level.
That should add a spicy new ingredient to the topics that could make this Friday’s ‘Meet The Board’ evening very interesting.
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