At present Crawley Town are finding the going tough on the road and they were well beaten by Colchester United for their third consecutive away defeat since they upset table-topping Lincoln City on their own turf.
The fervent support of 212 travelling fans was not enough to compensate for the inconsistency in Reds’ game that seems to surface away from home.
In some respects there appeared little to choose between the sides but Colchester looked more dangerous in attack and kept Reds’ backline on their toes.
They exposed perhaps the biggest shortcoming in Reds’ defensive set-up.
Colchester’s scorers had so much space and time it was almost as if Crawley were employing zonal marking which, in my book, is a reprehensible approach to the task. I hope that Gabriele Cioffi, having played as a defender in Italy, will soon sort things out.
Sammie Szmodics was in acres of space when Luke Norris set him up for the opening goal and it was hard to believe that could happen when Crawley had half a dozen players in the six-yard box.
An expansive move brought the Us second goal as Frank Nouble was unmarked when picked out by Norris and he hit a great shot from well outside the box. There was no doubt Norris won the battle of the brothers-in-law with Lewis Young.
One of the givens these days is that Glenn Morris will pull off some fine saves and he was again on top form. He twice denied Norris although the Colchester man got the last laugh with the third goal.
Filipe Morais netted from the penalty spot but Ollie Palmer, whose header was cleared off the line, and Josh Payne, whose cracking half volley curled away late, will feel that the day’s good fortune was not evenly shared.
The side’s frustration was shown by Bondz N’Gala’s stupid red card moments before the end even if Norris’ original foul on him had gone unpunished.
It is interesting when the fixture list throws up something different.
The Checkatrade Trophy did just that. With opponents as diverse as Tottenham Hotspur U21s and League One leaders Portsmouth, the opportunity is there for the fringe players to make their case.
The visit of Portsmouth led to yet another entertaining game at Broadfield Stadium.
It was apparent that Reds have some real young talent to call upon, although on this occasion fortune did not favour the brave and we really deserved to score against a very good Pompey line -up.
It was a token of Portsmouth manager Kenny Jackett’s recognition of our threat that he felt the need to shore up his central defence and pair Matt Clarke with Christian Burgess.
At the moment we are not getting a full return for our efforts, but the belief remains that things will improve. That’s also interesting as optimism is not something Reds fans are known for.