Tuesday evening’s defeat by Newport County showed that with Crawley Town nothing ever changes.
A good run for the Reds lasts only for 90 minutes and this outcome justified the choice of many fans as they stayed away in droves.
Manager Harry Kewell afterwards expressed his bewilderment at the way his team had played but in the view of many West Stand supporters the honeymoon is over and the manager is the reason this season already looks as if it will be one of struggle just like the last.
I don’t subscribe to that opinion but it is easy to see where the dissenters are coming from.
Let’s consider first where things went well. It won’t take long. Our passing on the night was much improved at least until the later stages when we were chasing the game. The up-tempo attacking approach was again in evidence but sadly Reds flattered to deceive.
That was largely because there was absolutely no improvement in our finishing and just a single attempt was on target. Josh Payne’s 25 yard free kick that hit an upright was an honourable exception. The players and the coaches should hang their heads as it meant an evening that started with considerable promise ended in dreadful disappointment.
We all expected it to be tough but not as tough as it turned. Yes, Newport County were physically strong and uncompromising but they were also masters of the dark arts.
Reds struggled with the sly fouls and gamesmanship and so too did naive referee Craig Hicks. We could feel affronted but these are experienced professional footballers and they should have been able to cope better with that side of the game.
The real cause for concern is our weakness at set pieces especially corners. Mickey Demetriou profited twice from that shortcoming and his equaliser looked to me like a training ground exercise. It wasn’t just “On me ‘ead, son” but more a case of: ‘You find the empty space and I’ll fill it.’
If his first showed opportunism his second goal came from rank bad defending with nothing learned and no marking. That said Mark Connolly and Josh Yorwerth otherwise had marvellous games dominating the rest of the match in the air.
Conns headed a brilliant opening goal thus reversing his role at Barnet. This time the move started with a precise free-kick by Enzio Boldewijn.
For many in the crowd the villain on the night was the unpopular Aryan Tajbaksh followed by HK for his reluctance to substitute him. When he did the move was greeted like the winning goal in a cup final but it didn’t work as, uncharacteristically, Mark Randall played as if he had forgotten he had moved on from Newport County.
It is not enough for everybody to keep apologising for poor performances they simply must do better and do that before it is too late.