Back on the road Crawley Town scrapped hard for a point in a goalless draw at Sixfields and remain locked together in the League Two table with their hosts Northampton Town.
The match bore some similarities to their previous game against Oldham Athletic who also occupied an adjacent position in the table.
Once again there was little to choose between the sides and neither showed the aptitude to break the deadlock. Unlike the Oldham game, however, the Reds did not jeopardise their chances with loose defensive play although it remained pretty poor entertainment for their boisterous bunch of travelling fans.
That those supporters did not feel too aggrieved was helped by a sterling performance by the defensive three. George Francomb, Tom Dallison (who kept the home keeper David Cornell on the hop) and especially the mighty Joe McNerney, who fully deserved to be the man of the match, all won fulsome praise.
The problem was that going forward the Reds lacked invention and sorely missed a cutting edge. Dominic Poleon worked hard but lacked guile and Lewis Young burst forward and put in some decent crosses only find that nobody had pushed up into the opposition box.
This is surely a problem that can be overcome by some positive coaching. I watched the game with my grandson who coaches a local boy’s team and that proved embarrassing on occasions.
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Things happened, or more accurately didn’t happen, and he asked me why we played that way. A shrug and a response along the lines of “I’m afraid we always do” was evidence of why this season has been so disappointing.
It backed up the puzzlement shown by some questioners at the Fan’s Forum that boiled down to why our approach is often negative. Had we played anywhere near our best then three points would have been in the bag. It irks me that I can only reflect on good all round performances on rare occasions.
I believe we have a squad that is capable of winning more games and pushing up towards midtable safety but my faith and that of others is being tested. Maybe we should play top sides, like Bury, every week as we just can’t find the motivation against lesser outfits.
This disappointing result was not down to any individual player but nobody seemed able to reap any benefit from the good platform provided by the back line. I guess I’m not the only one feeling frustrated. The reactions must be worse in the dressing room.
The opportunity to put things right comes next Saturday with the visit of Macclesfield Town. They are fighting hard under Sol Campbell but are still in the relegation zone and helping them stay there should be enough to spur the lads on. Our supporters would like some recompense for the wretched time they endured at Moss Rose last December.