Crawley v City

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Saturday 1st April 2000: Broadfield Stadium

  Crawley Town vs. CITY  

Dr Martens League Premier Division


City's Team

Up until a few weeks ago this was billed as a real six pointer, but since then Crawley's form has improved no end. City meanwhile have slumped, and even an April fool's day suggestion that the DML were going to rig the relegation issues to save us hadn't improved the mood. (Given the DML opinion of us I'm sure they're glad to see us down).

New signing Sticksie wasn't able to drag himself away from his desk, so Tommy had to make do with bringing in Danny Hunt and Ross Casey to the side. Crawley meanwhile worked on setting the scene by providing one steward per City fan in order to build up the collection in their swear box.  

Unsurprisingly this was scrappy stuff, with neither side looking like they were a good outfit. The ever ripening Gary Smart was playing alongside Baylo, and looked surprisingly lively and almost even pacey. However it didn't look like City were going to rip anyone apart, especially given the alarming lack of help for the front two from midfield. 

The match was largely bogged down in midfield and both sides allowed their frustration to boil over after a clattering challenge on Niblett. A good dose of handbags followed, with Baylo going into the book with the player making the original foul. Further scraps followed another poor Crawley tackle, this time on Casey. Both sides had put in some fairly robust challenges and tempers were becoming increasingly frayed.

The sporadic squabbles at least kept the crowd entertained, as the football was little to watch. City created a couple of chances, one Wyatt cross went begging as both Smart and Bayliss failed to reach it. The best opportunity fell to Baylo whose lob was just kept out by a fingertip save. Casey also found himself with time and space on the edge of the area, but his shot was poor and trickled wide. On the bright side the defence looked comfortable, with Crawley limited to one first half chance, a volley fired high and wide.

City looked like they'd been on the end of a few words at half-time, they came out all cylinders firing. City got an early corner which Crawley never quite cleared. A second corner from Gary Smart saw Rob Cook rise between two lost defenders and head home to send the few traveling fans spare. City continued to pile on the pressure with Wyatt, Baylo and Smart all interchanging passes. Smart saw a shot come back off the keeper's legs and Baylo almost got on the end of a Casey through ball.  

Gradually though Crawley fired into life and began to put City's defence under pressure. Gannas flapped at a few crosses and the young back line began to look decidedly shakey. The eventual equaliser came after Mark Abbott lost his cool and handled one of the many high balls Crawley were pumping into the besieged City penalty area. Payne stepped up to crash in the spot kick and City collapsed like a pack of cards. Griffiths and Steadman were doing a passable headless chicken routine as Crawley sensed the kill. Before long City again lost the ball in defence, leaving Payne to easily evade the demoralised Steadman and smack in his and Crawley's second. Only a desperate goal line lunge by Griffiths kept the score line from slipping even further in the last minute. 

This was the result that made me realise that we actually are going to go down. Ultimately we're not converting enough of our chances, and we don't have a defence that keep them out. Crawley weren't a good side, and we caved in. With champions elect Boston next up for the sad Tigers only a miracle can save us now.

Gannaway L2-1
Steadman Half-time
Hunt 0-0
Abbott Att.
Niblett 713
Cook City Scorers
Wyatt Cook (49)
Griffiths (c) Bookings
Bayliss Bayliss  Casey  Abbott
Smart Position
Casey 20th

Gordon (for Casey, 81) Report
Callinan T.Towel

Match Reports
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