An air of inevitably about Crawley Town's defeat at Cheltenham - opinion

Crawley Town’s 2-0 defeat at Cheltenham Town was unfortunately just what I anticipated.

Sunday, 11th October 2020, 7:53 pm
Updated Sunday, 11th October 2020, 7:56 pm
Tom Dallison (for one) must be wondering what he has to do to even get into the match day squad

Despite some good results the Reds never seem to play well against the Robins and they couldn’t raise their game sufficiently on this occasion. Cheltenham are now deservedly fourth and Crawley are more appropriately in mid table.

John Yems and Lee Bradbury got their first hands on experience of what it is like to manage Crawley in a match under the stewardship of referee Trevor Kettle. Regular Reds supporters will know exactly what I mean but I cannot be candid with my views in this column due to editorial constraints. The manager’s blunt post match interview was starkly revealing.

The refereeing did not directly affect the outcome of the match; that was down to the players.

The pairing of Jordan Tunnicliffe and Tony Craig has not proved a panacea and Tom Dallison (for one) must be wondering what he has to do to even get into the match day squad.

The absence of craft and inventiveness in the midfield is even more of a worry as the options seem limited. Substitute Sam Matthews showed some imagination but he is no Panutche Camara while Tyler Frost flattered to deceive often dribbling until he was dispossessed.

Upfront Tom Nichols and Ashley Nadesan struggled for want of support and decent service. At the moment Reds are going backwards and the current surprisingly stable line up needs to be refreshed.

There is consistency but not of the right sort. The coaches really have to instil the essential requirements of passing accurately. I cannot imagine any one of the players was happy about this aspect of their performance at the Jonny Rocks Stadium. The lack of service to the front men doesn’t even allow them to waste opportunities as the openings simply do not arise.

If the players are not doing what their manager has asked of them then it is time they were dropped. If they are then he must rethink his strategy but I suspect the former is the reality. I would not be surprised if the lacklustre displays are partly as a result of playing in soulless empty stadiums.

It is not good for the fans either. I miss the match day atmosphere but by following the match online, with action replays, any weaknesses in the setup are revealed and that leads me to perhaps be more critical than I would otherwise.

The present situation is totally unsatisfactory and the club cannot progress on determination and team spirit alone. There has to be an improvement in quality before any climb to the upper reaches of the table becomes too great. The promise remains apparent but its fulfilment seems unlikely without some drastic action being taken.