Harry Kewell’s agonising start in League Two management continued as visitors Cambridge United stole the spoils in a second successive single goal defeat to another side in the relegation zone.
Did Crawley Town deserve their fate? I say most emphatically they did not but perhaps I am deceiving myself.
Failing to score when the opposition denies you the opportunities is one thing but drawing a blank when you have enjoyed the better of the midfield play, fashioned a decent number of chances and kept the Cambridge defence under pressure is indicative of a deeper malaise.
It was difficult to understand why the lads did not win except that, for the Reds, there was certainly no rub of the green.
All the lady luck on the day went the way of United.
Mark Randall completed a marvellous move with a one-two with Thomas Verheydt and a delightful curling shot on the run that left keeper David Forde without a prayer. The ball pinged away off the angle of post and bar.
Matt Harrold was equally unlucky with a clever swivelling shot from 16 yards that also crashed against the woodwork dealing a final blow to Reds’ energetic quest to salvage a point.
Possibly Cambridge substitute Jabo Ibehre could be considered unlucky as injury left him with merely 12 minutes on the field but halfway through that he pinched the points with an alert reaction to a parry by Glenn Morris.
Noticeably our defence did not react but they had looked generally composed, if stretched on occasions.
One of those occasions cost the brave but injury prone Mark Connolly another spell on the physio’s bench.
When wondering how Crawley failed to win several supporters came up with the same reason – James Collins.
Our former top scorer’s fourth (and best yet) goal for Luton Town simply confirmed what a bad business his sale had been for Crawley Town.
Dutchman Verheydt looked way short of being an adequate replacement, lacking both pace and agility. Club legend Harrold has the edge on him in both aspects and deserves to be given the chance to lead the line in Saturday’s visit to table-topping Swindon Town.
Furthermore I think Panutche Camara should be given another chance, this time playing just off the target man.
The midfield is on song. Dannie Bulman and Randall kept things very tight in the middle while Enzio Boldewijn and Jordan Roberts happily switched flanks and continued to baffle the visiting full-backs.
There is still a case for a playmaker at the head of a diamond and maybe Kewell could experiment with formations.
Whilst on the training ground shooting practise must be high on the agenda. Close, but no cigar, will not do.
This defeat was hard to take. With a bit of good fortune the better side would have won but if you waste your chances you deserve the nowt that you end up with.