Crawley Town deserved more from the Newport County and Mansfield Town games - Steve Leake

Tuesday evening and another night at the People’s Pension Stadium saw Reds, unluckily in my opinion, have to settle for a point against the Exiles from Newport.

The performance, especially in the second half, deserved so much more with Kwesi Appiah scoring a fantastic opening goal, superbly converting an exquisite delivery from a Jack Powell free kick.

It seemed to most people, on the terrace at least, that the improved second half showing was due to the introduction of Will Ferry, but unfortunately, he soon fell foul of the continuing 2021 injury crisis and had to be replaced.

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Reds players give a minute's applause for Dermot Drummy. Picture by Cory Pickford

Conceding the equaliser in the 84th minute, Crawley almost got what they deserved, first when Qwesi Appiah delicately chipped Day in the Newport goal, only to see his effort rebound off the cross bar, before the returning Reece Grego-Cox hit a stunning goal bound drive which the Welsh keeper did well to keep out.

What a popular goal that would have been. Disappointing aspects of the evening? The low attendance, caused perhaps by Champions League football on the tele, Paul Tarran’s perpetual 4-0 home win bet not succeeding and the temperature. Encouraging aspects?

The scoreboard is at last installed and should be in operation by December 18, the terrific atmosphere in the ground, no doubt enhanced by a visiting group of German lads who increased the volume considerably, and yes, of course, the positive approach by Crawley, who outshot Newport despite having less possession. All of a sudden, the optimism is back.

Saturday Morning

The injury crisis continues with Will Ferry likely to not be fit for this afternoon’s encounter against Mansfield and yours truly suffering from a badly bruised left thumb after stopping a shot in yesterday’s Walking Football.

The things you do that need both hands? Who would have thought it! Anyway, it gives me an excuse for concentrating on football and not doing my chores. (Sorry Paula). Apparently, Mansfield are returning to South London today to play us, according to their website. I blame the teachers.

Saturday evening or Sunday morning (depending on the result)

Well, it’s Sunday morning, so yes, we lost at home to Nigel “I’ll never have to come to Crawley again” Clough’s side, Mansfield. In a close encounter of the windy kind, a stunning goal from James Tilley was, along with the scoreboard (albeit not yet fully operational), the highlight of the game as far as Crawley were concerned.

Having said that, for the second match running Kwesi hit the bar after the Stags had scored their second, and it would have been no more than we deserved if we had equalised.

One comment, that was heard from several long-term fans was why didn’t we put someone directly in front of their keeper when we had a corner. I have to say this was a fair point, as all our corners, with the aid of Storm Arwen’s north easterly blast seemed to end up in the keeper’s hands without too much trouble.

Game gone, points gone, lessons learnt, we must move on as “Town, Team, Together”, just as we showed when we all joined in the minute’s applause to mark the fourth anniversary of the passing of our former manager, Dermot Drummy.

Dermot was, and still is a much loved and respected figure in our club’s history. Before leaving home for the match I witnessed, on Football Focus, another tribute to another true gentleman of the game, Gary Speed.

The tribute was given by one of our own, Dan Walker, who obviously was clearly distressed about being one of the last people to speak with Gary the day before he died. “I’ll call you Monday to arrange a round of golf” or words to that effect was the parting comment after another edition of Football Focus.

Gary Speed died the next day.Having never been close to making the sort of decision that Gary made, it is hard for me to comprehend the thought processes that leads to that final decision.

What is clear to me, and this I do speak about with confidence, is that any problem, concern or worry can be overcome with the support of friends and/or family, and if you think you have neither then there are organisations such as Sussex Mental Health 0300 50001010, The Samaritans 116123 or Sane Line 0300 3047000.