Promotion challenge falling to pieces

After a good start to the season which saw Crawley Town up to the dizzy heights of second in League One at one stage, the club has slipped to ninth thanks to a run of  just one win in November, away to Met Police in the FA Cup, and no wins in six in the league. Worrying times indeed, but the lack of goals and indeed a goalscorer is the main concern. Gary Alexander, reliable for much of last season for both Brentford and Crawley when he joined, is clearly lacking confidence (although he did hit the post this weekend.)

It’s been frustrating because for much of this period, the team have played okay but individual errors and lapses in concentration have cost us. For example, against Oldham we were comfortable for much of the game, but had to settle for a draw after going behind and then being rescued by a late Kyle McFadzean strike.

Against Yeovil on Tuesday night, we put in probably one of our best performances of the season (certainly at home,) and somehow came away with nothing after a late own goal by David Hunt – this was despite dominating them in the second half and failing to convert numerous goal mouth scrambles. You get the feeling that if, dare I say it, Matt Tubbs had been playing, he may have stuck away a goal or two and we’d have got the win we deserved.

Is Matt Tubbs the answer? I’d say yes. Part of it is the sentimental side of me wanting the best striker in the club’s history back ‘home’ but part of it is thinking logically. Crawley needs a goalscorer, Tubbs is a goalscorer. The club, in particular the fans, need a lift and signing a club legend would bring exactly that, so why not? He’s out of favour at Bournemouth, has already said he’d be open to a move back and is exactly what we’re missing. The only problem I can see is that Bournemouth paid a huge fee for him and would want a fair amount of that money back, money Crawley just don’t have.

Despite us spending huge amounts of money on back to back promotions, mainly transfer fees, we  have cut back on our spending and this summer, in the main relying on loans and free transfers. One thing is for certain though, and that is we need goals desperately, whether it be in the form of Matt Tubbs, Gary Alexander finding his shooting boots or perhaps a young striker who’s scored 23 goals whilst on loan at Met Police – Jonte Smith.

Granted, League One is a completely different level, but I’m a firm believer that if you’re a natural goalscorer you’ll be able to make the step up to any level (to a degree) and unlike Tubbs he won’t actually cost anything. He’s a product of the revamped youth system here at Crawley and it would be nice to see him given a game.

Despite all this, there have been a few bright sparks – namely Nicky Adams and Kyle McFadzean.

Both have been absolute class and should be playing in the Championship. McFadzean is definitely the best defender we’ve ever had, and has been an absolute rock alongside Big Claude Davis. Somehow the club have managed to convince him to sign a three year contract, but if he stays for even half of that I’ll be surprised. Nicky Adams is equally brilliant, always giving 100% and he’s the kind of winger that gets people off their seat – always looking to take the full back on and get a cross in. He’s even chipped in with a few goals this season.

So it’s not all doom and gloom – and if Crawley can start taking our chances we’ll rise back into the play off places once more. But to be honest, I think a lot of people are over reacting to an admittedly bad period considering where we were a few years ago. If you ask me we need to just enjoy being in League One and support the team and Richie Barker. Moaning won’t serve to help the team, and, let’s be honest, if you were giving 100% each week (and I don’t doubt the players do) and all you got in return was fans getting on your back, what would you think?

Written by Louie Elmer, We Are Going Up’s Crawley Town blogger

Louie tweets at @LouieElmer

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