Taste of the Terrace: Crawley Town’s coaching staff must restore confidence after shocking defensive lapses

Crawley Town season ticket holder Geoff Thornton
Crawley Town season ticket holder Geoff Thornton

Another song reference seems appropriate for this result. You may recall The Who debuted with ‘I Can’t Explain’. That is spot on as the Reds’ display at Gresty Road simply beggared belief.

You can find individual explanations (perhaps excuses) but overall the fragility of the defence that has performed so well in recent weeks was inexplicable. The worst part was that the collapse started with Crawley a goal to the good and bossing the game.

Jordan Bowery’s well struck equaliser should never have happened as the handball by Perry Ng that we spotted at the time was confirmed by the post match video. Tom Dallison’s own goal was as undeserved and as cruel as could be but coming just two minutes later terrified our defenders.

George Francomb looked lost in the build-up to Chris Porter’s almost comical tap-in for the third while Joe McNerney will have nightmares about his error that led to Paul Green making it 4-1 just a minute later.

Half-time should have brought a regrouping but it took just over a minute for the Reds to be completely undone and Charlie Kirk sneaked in to help himself to number five. Then a fortunate deflection accompanied Owen Dale’s shot for the final goal

Some fans thought we had received some poor decisions from referee Seb Stockbridge but I thought his real error was the dismissal of Ibrahim Meite. Check this on video for play acting of the highest order.

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It wasn’t all bad as, especially early on, we built well and created chances and the onus is now on the coaching staff to restore confidence by showing that these defensive lapses were simply a one-off – or maybe six-off.

The feel good factor that had followed the defeat of Grimsby Town continued with last Tuesday’s visit of promotion seeking Mansfield Town. This was an entertaining free-flowing match that oddly ended as a goalless draw despite an intriguing tussle in midfield.

Crawley were full of tricks and flicks which came off more often than not and endeared them to the fans. Their lively approach play was positive yet, once again, nobody appeared keen to attack the ball in the box or to try a shot.

The team work was excellent and the superb backline nullified a powerful Stags attack. Midfielder Matty Willock and the hard working Ollie Palmer often surged forward but the striker frequently drifted wide to link up with Lewis Young and so rarely ran through the middle. Young’s drive was perhaps The Reds’ best attempt of the evening.

More often than not the diminutive Reece Grego-Cox adopted the role of target man and gave the Mansfield defence no end of problems.

Apart from the need to show self belief and to shoot on sight more often Crawley at that moment again looked like a side that had turned the corner and was aiming high.