This Saturday see’s the last of the current seasons matches with the Red Devils at home to Barnet at the Checkatrade.com Stadium. The home side are on a disastrous run of form with losing their last 7 matches, scoring only 2 goals in the process. Thankfully the relegation places were already confirmed before this run started.
Last Saturdays defeat at relegated Dagenham and Redbridge was the first match that new manager Dermot Drummy had been in charge, and like most of us supporters at the game were greatly surprised by the attaching performance they showed in the first half, but again the frailties were still there to be seen in front of goal – with the strikers Joe McAlinden on his return from injury and Lee Barnard failing to cause the home keeper any troubles what so ever. The defence were also coping with ease, with the Daggers front line failing to test Callum Preston, having been recalled into the side.
The second half was a complete different story, with the home side creating and causing the visitor much more trouble and scoring two goal in five minutes, you knew that Crawley were never going to get back into the game. The second of the goals was the real turning point when Callum Preston thinking that the soft shot was going wide allowed the ball to pass him into the bottom corner of the net, something that he must learn from in future matches. The home sealed the victory late on with another goal from a free kick in the opposition’s half, a long ball over the top of a static defence to the winger who ran through unopposed to fire past Preston. Game Over, but the away fans, just under 300 still tried to keep the support for the team upbeat, but it was another poor second half performance that confirmed the seventh defeat on the bounce.
So, this Saturday will see the return of fans favourite John Akinde, one of the League 2’ leading scorers return to a former club. He was signed by Steve Evans from Bristol City but never really got much match time, as then Matt Tubbs, Tyronne Barnett and Wes Thomas were here at the same time – and scoring, which when Big John did play failed to make an impression, his only goal coming in an away match at Shrewsbury Town on a Monday night in front of the Sky cameras. Since he left the Red Devil he’s been on a long goal scoring run – for Alfreton in the Conference and then Barnet where he’s has been top scorer for the past 2 seasons, scoring 2 goals against the Red Devils in the match played at the Hive earlier I the season, where the home side won 4 – 2. He is sure to get a good reception from the home fans this weekend.
The Red Devils need a win, and Dermot Drummy has said that he want to finish the season on an upbeat performance and will be putting out a team to do that – he hopes to have Guion Edwards back having missed the D & R match and Lanre Oyebanjo on the bench, Matt Harrold is still out injured and Andy Bond suspended. Whatever happens on Saturday, for many of the current squad it will be their last match as they will be released to make way for a new squad for next season, which according to the manager will have a couple of foreign players – possibly Turkish, in a predominately British side. Some players have been informed. Other’s will be told next week that they are not in the managers plans for next season, a couple which evidently includes skipper Sonny Bradley will have contract talks but until these are agreed it is unlikely that any details will be announced beforehand.
Things are changing; with the help of John Yems, the club are looking for new training facilities and have two local sites in mind. The ground is having an end of season clean-up – and the Club have asked fans to assist with this by having an “Operation Clean Up” on Saturday 21st May from 10.00am until 4.00pm with those helping getting a match day ticket for one of the pre-season friendlies. These have yet to be announced but we believe that Millwall will be one of the sides visiting in July and away to Three Bridges.
Also at the match on Saturday will be a former player, who’s goal scoring record for the Red Devils is one of the best – he played in a the side in the mid 80’s when we were promoted then to the Southern League Premier, that season scoring 31 goal in all matches. Crawley finished their first season in the Premier Division, just 3 points behind promoted Cheltenham Town. He went on to score 89 in 125 matches and later transferred to Welling United for a £8000 fee a record for the Red Devils at that time – yes its “Terry Robbins”. I must admit I did have Terry’s “Tri-star” sponsored No 9 shirt, but loan it to someone and as normal never got it back.
The game kicks off at 3.00pm and sees this season come to an end, not one of the best that the Red Devils have had but they have survived for another season in League 2 – starting in August.
CHT Sports Reporter”
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