Reds are an enigma this season, and a bit baffling - Crawley Town opinion
Enigmatic may seem an odd adjective to use when reviewing a football match but Crawley Town this season are certainly an enigma.
Hardly a games passes when they haven’t puzzled their supporters by the inconsistency of their approach to and delivery of their manager’s plans. Baffling is another appropriate word.
Relegated Bradford City were one of the pre-season favourites for the title and after an uneven start they have settled down and look a good bet for a prompt return to League One. So it wasn’t unduly surprising when for most of the first half at Valley Parade they made the Reds look distinctly second best.
SEE ALSO Bradford City 2, Crawley Town 1: Improved Reds unlucky to return from Bantams with nothing | 'There was a lot of good football' Crawley Town head coach on performance at Bradford CityWhether it was simply a demonstration of the gulf between promotion candidates and a midtable outfit or Crawley’s worrying trend of failing to open strongly and going a goal down I am not sure. But I was in no way unsurprised.
Harry Pritchard swept home an excellent opener for the Bantams converting a low cross from the right which typified the Reds’ concerns. We struggled defensively on the flanks and conceded a string of free kicks. Bradford scored again although Danny Devine’s shot took one of those wicked deflections that always seem to happen to your team and never to the opposition. This time I was disappointed but again not surprised.
But Crawley Town this season never know when they are beaten. They don’t have to actually crash and burn but they can still fight back with the intensity of Phoenix rising from the flames. Sorry if I am overdoing the hyperbole this time.
It was just like someone had flipped a switch and as the second half progressed the Reds had more and more of the game, dominating possession and creating an impressive number of goal scoring chances. It was the Bantams who looked to be on the pitch simply to make up the numbers.
Almost inevitably Reece Grego-Cox led the way. He scored a good goal and deserved a better return. Bez Lubala, Tarryn Allarakhia and Nathan Ferguson were involved in everything and the defenders pushed forward too. David Sesay was very unlucky not to score an equaliser for the visitors.
Somehow Bradford City held on to their lead as the pressure on their goal increased. It was as late as the 94th minute when keeper Richard O’Donnell somehow kept out Jordan Tunnicliffe’s header from a corner. Overall I believe the best side did not win but that is football. Crawley’s fightback was ill rewarded and, again, I felt frustration but not surprise.
The Reds’ journey to becoming a top side is underway but there is still a long way to go. They can be as good as anyone in the division but they have got to be able to play their own game over ninety minutes. We saw the DNA that Gabriele Cioffi is so proud of but we must see it more often.