Crawley 3-2 Mariners
The last time the Black and White Army made its way down to the Broadfield Stadium (now named after a certain sponsor) we saw a 1-0 win in our first game at a new level. Of course that was two and a half managers ago, before Disley and Mckeown ever put on Town shirts and at the start of our somewhat cathartic 6 years as a non-league club made us into the stronger club we are today.
So as the terrace behind the goal filled up, excitement and optimism was building but first and foremost was the minutes silence for Paul Futcher, for this I think we need to say a massive thank you to Crawley for it was an impeccably observed minutes silence, showing genuine class and all Town fans will be grateful to them for their participation. Four minutes later Paul Futcher’s name rang out from the terrace one more time in a fittingly accurate tribute “you’ll never beat Paul Futcher”
Town lined up with McKeown in goal, Gowling and Collins at centre back, Mills and Andrew the full backs. Bolarinwa got a start on the right of midfield while Kayden Jackson seemed to be adopting a left wing role, Disley and Summerfield in the middle with Vose in behind Bogle.
The early action on the pitch was somewhat disappointing as Crawley pressed high up the pitch and gave Disley and Summerfield no time to dictate play. Few chances were created for either side as Crawly looked like a side on a bad run of form, while we were struggling to impose our game on them at all. Then on the half hour mark Crawley broke in behind our midfield and ran at our defence, the ball finding its way to James Collins who turned Gowling inside out before finishing through the legs of McKeown.
It was probably a deserved goal as despite the lack of clear cut chances Crawley had seemed to have the better of the play, but any hope that would spur Town to life were unfounded as we continued to labour on the ball. Without being threatened ourselves we didn’t really worry Crawley either. That was why it was an incredibly pleasant surprise as just before half-time a ball in from Bolarinwa on the right led to you know who rising above everyone and putting a great header into the corner.
When the second half got underway it seemed that Bignot had demanded more as we started the brighter and Bogle almost scored a stunning goal, cutting in from the right and with his left foot rippling the top of the net as his shot went just over. But this was a good sign, we were attacking and putting Crawley on the back foot and they were……..about to score on a break. A clinical move as James Collins found space on the right to square it into the box, with our defence at sixes and sevens Jordan Roberts passed the ball into the net. Would this see Town fightback or struggle to impose ourselves? Sadly it was the later and Crawley looked more likely to add to their lead than we did to equalise. It was time for changes and Bignot first took of Disley and Jackson for Comley and Browne, followed by bringing on Vernon for Summerfield.
It was only a few minutes later that we conceded a calamitous goal, giving away a corner when it didn’t seem possible to do so, before conceding straight from the corner. Town fans were as dumbfounded as the players and with only 10 minutes left it looked like it was going to be the first loss of the Bignot regime. As the clock ticked down we looked very unlikely to claim any consolation, then Bogle getting the ball back from Bolarinwa curled an absolute pearler into the top corner, with injury time to go could we get an unlikely point? Possibly if Bolarinwa’s shot had beaten the keeper, or Browne took the chance to shoot inside the box instead of squaring it to a Town player that wasn’t there. But it wasn’t to be.
Ultimately we probably deserved to lose and Crawley deserved to win, it was a disappointing performance and it felt very like Grimsby to lose this week after winning last week. Bignot was clearly not happy and as the Town fans made their way out, Bignot stayed on the pitch with the team in a circle, presumably telling them to not give away silly corners and leave the front post unguarded in the future.
In that game 6 years ago we won at Crawley in what turned out to be a horrible season, losing at Crawley is not a great feeling, but the season is already a lot better than that outing, hopefully a Bignot inspired bounce back will continue that.