Taste of the Terrace: Crawley Town so near yet so far

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

Some years ago Chrissie Hynde of the Pretenders sang that it was ‘a thin line between love and hate’ but the uppermost thought in the minds of Crawley Town fans is that it is a thin line between success and failure.

Not for the first time this season the Reds raised their game when facing top opposition and once again they fell agonisingly short of gaining the reward their efforts merited.

This puzzling dilemma is the main reason they are close to the relegation zone rather than the play-offs.

Against fourth-placed Milton Keynes Dons they had the edge in virtually every aspect of the game but after 90 minutes the Dons had three points.

The match stats, however, offer an explanation to those who did not see the encounter.

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Crawley enjoyed the greater possession; had more goal attempts; won more corners and even conceded fewer fouls but they fell down in one vital aspect.

They managed only two shots on target; could not beat home ‘keeper Stuart Moore and have now netted a paltry four times in nine matches.

Cause and effect is plainly obvious and we must hope that the welcome return to the club of coach Craig Brewster will raise the quality of shooting and put Crawley Town back on the goal standard.

But, as I said, it is a thin line and there were compensations seen on this unsuccessful trip.

Ollie Palmer looked more his old self and had a number of goes at the Dons’ goal.

His aim wasn’t true but he came close to restoring parity straight after the interval.

Crawley had started the game very well and nearly scored in the third minute from an unlikely source as George Francomb drove an angled shot from 18 yards against the crossbar.

Further attempts followed quickly but of profit for the lads’ efforts there was none.

Despite the false dawn on the strike front there was a more encouraging look about the midfield.

Matty Willock looked an increasingly influential acquisition whilst Reece Grego-Cox acknowledged his rare start with a busy and willing display creating several openings.

Oddly a rare misjudgment by Dannie Bulman gifted Dons their winner.

The team occupies a fragile position just nine points above the drop zone.

Other results did not harm them but that can’t be guaranteed in the weeks to come.

We simply must learn how to put the ball in the net – not just once but several times in each game.

The Reds also need to recognise where they are in the great scheme of things and simply sock it to those teams that are inferior.

Our performances against the big boys amply show that Crawley Town should occupy a place in the top half of the table.

We need to play better every week and also remember it is only a thin line.