Crawley Town returned from Tuesday’s match at Stevenage with a hard-earned point and a lot of credit.
For the second time after earlier winning at table-topping Swindon Town, they upset the apple cart and this time tumbled the home side from second place.
The credit accrued from the fact that this draw was not easily achieved as Stevenage made the running.
Early on, they dominated the Reds over-working the defence but they could not turn their possession into goals. They reined in many more goal attempts but got no more on target than we did.
Crawley’s travelling fans adopted a new hero in loanee Ibrahim Meite who scored a fine equaliser sweeping a low shot from the edge of the box inside the far post beyond the diving keeper’s left hand. He also went close on a number of other occasions.
The extent of the battling effort was shown by the foul count in which unusually Reds were the main offenders.
Yet despite the cut and thrust and end-to-end football sportsmanship was not forgotten and the referee felt no need to use his cards. Surely Harry Kewell was well satisfied with his team’s efforts.
Things hadn’t gone so well at Colchester United despite their winless record against us in eight encounters.
Lesson one for HK was that Sod’s Law always applies.
The absence of the in-form Jordan Roberts through injury left the manager short of striking options. In the event the match was decided by failings in defence.
Sammie Szmodics gave the home side the lead when Josh Lelan’s abysmal attempt at a clearing header fell right to his feet.
Lesson number two was that it is asking for trouble to leave Joe McNerney’s strength in the air mouldering on the bench.
Lelan is better suited to the full-back’s role but there should have been greater defensive solidity with Mark Randall joining Jimmy Smith and Dannie Bulman in midfield. That wasn’t the case either and defender Ryan Jackson was allowed a great strike to make it 2-0.
The third goal showed that Smith is not a central defender but begged the question as to where those players were.
Before any improvement was seen there was another setback as Mark Randall failed with a poor penalty.
Lesson number three was don’t bang it straight down the middle as keepers never trust themselves to wait and see which way the penalty has been struck. Randall’s kick hit Sam Walker before he could dive away.
Smith scored for the fourth time in two visits to Colchester but unluckily had two deserving efforts saved as he came close to beating Colchester on his own for the second time in seven months.
Now it’s back to Sod’s Law as we await third-placed Notts County. Our performances against them don’t bear much repetition. Can we get the boot on the other foot?