Live Blogging the Crawley Game

Ebbsfleet Utd 1(0) v Crawley Town 0(0)
(Ebbsfleet used to be call Gravesend & Northfleet)
Kickoff – 7:45pm

Crawley are currently in 7th place (although this is before the decision on whether to deduct 6 points has been finally settled). Ebbsfleet are 14th.

Thanks to the deal between Virgin and Setanta, I can watch this on the telly, so I thought I’d provide a live update. Updates will appear at the top, so anyone visiting won’t have to scroll down much to see the latest. The game will appear in reverse order though. Ho hum.

The local press also give the same service – http://www.crawleyobserver.co.uk/sport/LIVE–Ebbsfleet-United-V.3230617.jp I’m not trying to compete, just complement their coverage :-)

Crawley Lineup
4-4-2: Bayes; Wilson, Mills, Stevens, Bull; Bulman, Thompson, Pinault, Cook; Madjo, Pittman.
(Subs: Vieira, Evans, Clapham, Joseph-Dubois, Krause)

For those watching in black-and-white, Crawley are in their away strip of yellow shirts and blue shorts

9:40 Full time.
Ebbsfleet win, and Crawley Town are frustrated. With by far the most opportunities to score, the away side also felt that they should have been a man up after McCarthy handled early on. Sasha Opinel played very well against his old side, and he was the decisive factor in this game.

9:38
The keeper fists away the delivery, only for a deflected cross to go for another Crawley corner. That results in a fray in the box, with the keeper agian punching the ball down, but no Crawley player can connect before a foul is given against them.

9:37
3 minutes of extra play indicated, and Crawley will really have to pick things up to get a point. However, a corner presents the opportunity

9:36
Madjo judged to have pushed, and he isn’t happy with the ref. Free kick from Hawkins so poor it hits the corner flag for a throw to Crawley.

9:33
I can hear the announcer give Sasha Opinel the man of the match, which is more than fair, given that he kept Madjo out at a vital time.

9:32
Crawley start to recover, pressing upfield a bit more, but there isn’t much time left to save the game.

9:30
Double substitution for Crawley, as Viera and Joseph-Dubois come on for Cook and Pittman.

9:29
Bull booked for a foul on Moore, and Ebbsfleet get a cross about 25 yards out. Nade gets the head again, but it goes across the face of goal. After such a good game, Crawley have lost their edge after conceding.

9:27
Lucky escape for Crawley as Ebbsfleet try to break and Wilson kicks the ball hard into Bayes’ knee. If the keeper had missed that, it could have been an own goal to put Town two goals down.

9:24
Goal! Ebbsfleet make a chance from nowhere pay off, as a cross beats both central defenders for Nade to head the ball past a hapless Bayes. 1-0 to the home side.
9:22
Madjo comes back to help the defence, and leads in with his dodgy ankle to take the challenge. Brave, but perhaps foolhardy. Seems to be ok though

9:21
Opinel forced to give away a corner, but Ebbsfleet win the ball back

9:20
Pittman and Madjo team up again in the attack, keeping the ball on the pitch to pressure United in their own area.

9:19
A free kick for Ebbsfleet results in a shot over, but the Devils’ defence should have closed that down.

9:18
Madjo comes so close!! A break up the left wing sees Madjo beat three defenders to squeeze a shot in, to see it go inches wide.

9:17
A scare for Crawley as Ebbsfleet nearly get behind the defence. Mills clears from the 6 yard box.

9:14
More pressure from Crawley, as Ebbsfleet are forced to pack the defence on the edge of the area. Wilson goes down with an ankle twist after trying to get a cross in. We can only hope he’ll be able to run it off

9:11
Deft touch from Pittman on the left beats the defence, and Pinault was fouled (not according to the ref). Crawley are starting to put some good moves together in the midfield.

9:09
Of course, as I say that, Pittman almost gets past Hawkins before the United defender flicks the ball away.

9:08
Ebbsfleet have tightened up in the back, and Madjo has just been caught offside.

9:06
Madjo puts another shot wide, but the build up play was good, with Bulman putting a short ball in to the striker.

9:02
Crawley get a free kick on the edge of the area, with a yellow card for Bostwick. The shot bounces off the wall, and loops over Pittman before going wide

9:00
So close!! A break for Crawley puts Pittman on, and he passes to Madjo. A dummy strands the defender and Madjo shoots, beating the keeper, but Opinel gets across to head the ball away. That was going into the bottom corner.

8:59
A long shot (which looked like a mis-hit cross) lands on the top of the Crawley goal. Bayes had it covered, but that could have been a flukey goal for United.

8:56
Wilson makes a vital tackle on the edge of the box to keep Ebbsfleet from getting a shot in.

8:55
Ebbsfleet have an opportunity on the right wing, but the move breaks down. The ball is quickly sent back up the pitch for Cook, but the cross back is intercepted.

8:51
Ebbsfleet kick off the second half

8:50
The teams are back out, and Setanta have stopped the adverts. Steve Evans not happy with the ref, I agree that the handball was blatant enough to deserve a red card, but the ref (apparently soon to get a Premiership gig) has, as they say, the final decsion

Half time
Town have looked fairly good so far, although their confident start gave way to a few jitters as Ebbsfleet settled down about half way through. Crawley have had more chances, and better ones, with Madjo looking very flash – perhaps a bit too flash at times. Ebbsfleet have threatened, but I can’t recall a shot on target or more than one really clear chance. The Crawley central defence of Mills and Stevens are having a really good game so far.

Time for another beer.

8:35
Another cross from Crawley following a good move from Pinault, but the keeper beats Madjo to the ball. And that’s half time.

8:33
Pittman makes a good run down the right wing, but the shot goes out before reaching the post

8:32
A Wilson ball in is fumbled by Cronin, but Pittman can’t get the rebound. Another chance for Crawley there.

8:31
Thompson comes through midfield to win the ball for Madjo to weave through. A shot is blocked, Pittman gets the ball back but Madjo takes it from him. Pittman not too happy, especially as the resulting weak shot goes wide.

8:28
Setanta are a bit odd – they interview the managers during play. Imagine Sky approaching Ferguson during an Old Trafford game for a quick word…

8:27
Ball goes into the Ebbsfleet net from a Cook header, but the whistle had already gone – a push gives the free kick to the home side

8:26
The ball has been pinging across the pitch for a while, both keepers are having to punt it back in a few times.

8:22
A close shave, as Ebbsfleet’s Boswick puts the ball over after a great ball in.

8:21
Crawley are starting to reassert themselves in midfield, but Ebbsfleet are definitely upping their game off the ball.

8:20
Another good cross in from Ebbsfleet requires Bayes to clear.

8:19
Another short spell of pressure from Ebbsfleet, a dangerous ball into the box is cleared, and then Opinel sends a speculative shot wide.

8:18
Ebbsfleet win the ball with a dodgy challenge, but a long ball goes over the line before their forward can reach it.

8:15
Wilson, and then Madjo, play well to keep the ball on the pitch, earning a throw in near the line.

8:14
Steve Evans says he’s satisfied so far, but that we should have scored by now.

8:12
Madjo works superbly through midfield, Bulman’s cross just ahead of Pittman. A really good chance for Crawley!

8:09
Madjo shoots! just squeaks over the bar. This game is looking pretty good considering the level that these teams are at (he says, patronisingly…_

8:07
Crawley under a bit of pressure as Bayes forced to clear, and shortly after a shot goes over the bar.

8:06
Opinel (an ex-Crawley player) gives away a free kick. There’s a bit of tussle in the Ebbsfleet box but the keeper eventually gets the ball.

8:05
Good ball in to Pittman from the free kick (taken by Cook?), but it goes about a foot over

8:04
Handball by Ebbsfleet! about 25 yards out, trying to stop the ball going over him to Madjo. The lad gets a yellow, which is lenient

8:01
Madjo takes the ball up the left wing, past the defence, but no-one there to receive his cross.

8:00
Second corner played to the penalty area but easily cleared. Crawley win the ball back, but break down, giving away a free kick.

7:58
First corner of the game awarded to Crawley. Played short, but goes out for another.

7:57
Crawley tighten up at the back, catching their opponents in the offside trap.

7:55
A bit of a worry as Madjo and an another player clash, but the super-striker is ok. Free kick but nothing comes from it.

7:54
Both sides are working hard, and much of the play is in midfield. That’s why the commentary isn’t really sparkling. That, and my total lack of wit.

7:53
Crawley throw in to the box, but a foul is given against them.

7:51
Ebbsfleet shoot from outside the box – miles wide.

7:50
Crawley defend at first, giving away a foul by the corner flag.

7:49
kickoff

Before the Game
Pint of London Pride poured, sofa cushioned plumped and the crisps in a bowl, it’s time to settle down to a first for me – watching Crawley Town on the telly.

NonLeague Today’s pools predictions have a home win, and Ebbsfleet have won three games in a row. Crawley had some great winds recently though, scoring 13 goals in the process. The betting has Ebbsfleet as favourites, but Madjo to score first.

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Thank Clint!

Fulham 1 – 0 Liverpool

A season rescued at the near death by a super-sub and an opposition who might have been a little preoccupied with an upcoming trip to Athens.

The only way we can go down is for Charlton to win both of their games. The last is away to Liverpool (who may be more careful about playing a low-end team), and they are currently losing at home to Spurs.

[edit 9:55 pm - Charlton lost 2-0. A shame for my mate Toby, but frankly I'd rather them than us]

Crawley Town are in a similar position, although the Conference season is over. The threat there is that the owners don’t pay back their debts in time. Last I heard they have until Friday 11 May, but were asking for an extension until the end of May. It would be a real shame for the team to be penalised because of the actions of their owners. However, I still don’t know how West Ham got away with no points deduction for the Tevez-Mascherano tranfser shenanigans.
It does mean that I can wind Skuds up next season about how they should be in the Championship….

Selling off the team

Unbelievable!!

Six months ago, Crawley Town was bought out by the ‘SA Group’. They own a few bars and restaurants around the county, and don’t seem to have any football experience. When they turned up they said the plan was to conver to full time Professional status over the season, then they suddenly decided to do it in August, causing chaos as some players weren’t prepared to leave their day jobs.

After a reasonable start, the club were sliding down the table, so the long serving, successful and popular manager Vines was sacked, Alan Mullery was brought in to consult and his mate John Hollins got the job. Still second from bottom, but games are close (and have been all season).

Suddenly today the whole team are up for sale, their wages are cut (and I expect they are all getting advice from the PFA about breaches of contract).

I’m reading the comments on the ctfc.net boards – a protest of some kind is being discussed – probably a boycott of ‘Redz’ and a demonstration before and after the game.

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Crawley 5(2) AFC Wimbledon 4(3)

My first game of the season, and first at Crawley for years, and what a game to witness.

Pre-match build up was meeting Darren from Beer In The Evening and Mike at Crawley Station, a quick pint in The Downsman (mainly so that Darren & Mike could report on it for the website) and off to the game.

A few Dons fans had stayed away, saying the £11 entry was too high. Well, I guess they feel vindicated now after missing nine goals. That’s about £1.2o per goal.

Wimbledon took the early lead through a 2nd minute goal. By the 24th minute they’d made it three, even though Crawley was playing well in midfield. Presumably fearing the sight of Francis Vines at half time, Town rallied and Burton scored two in quick succession before half time.

Crawley came out the stronger at the restart, and Burton quickly made his hat-trick, all of them quality finishes. He was subbed later on, but with a few triallists to give a run out, this wasn’t a poor decision. Not when one of them, whose name escapes me (no thanks to the worst announcer in the world) sets up a fourth goal before scoring a fifth, which looked like a mishit cross from the other end but was apparently intentional. The visitors, who had started looking more dangerous again managed a fourth goal to set up a nailbiting finish, but Crawley held their ground, with chances going begging at both ends.

About that announcer. If he’s the DJ as well, he ought to hang his head in shame. Not only does he get most of the names and numbers mixed up for the Crawley substitutions, but the half time ‘entertainment’ included playing ‘Albatross’ by Fleetwood Mac. Hello? It’s a football game!! The only saving grace was that he tried his best with the name of the Wimbledon no2, which was long and Polish.

Rodney McArce?

Rodney McAree is a legend. As the song goes, ‘He scored that goal in the Carlisle game’.

For the confused reader, I’m talking about football (soccer to yanks). And specifically Fulham FC, who Rodders helped on the road to promotion to the third tier of the League in 1997, which may have given them enough publicity to attract Mohammed Al Fayed. ‘Big Mo’ bought the club, saving them from years of near fatal financial and ownership problems. They now play in the Premiership and today managed to guarantee another season.

And Rodney? I’m sure he was a competent player, but I don’t recall him ever playing at a higher level than with Fulham. A few years ago he surfaced at Crawley Town, where he stayed for a while and was immortalised in the Crawley News as ‘Rodney McArce’. I bet he doesn’t have that cutting up on his wall. Still, it’s over 90% accurate, which is pretty good for the Crawley News.

Right, so having read all that, what does it have to do with me?

Well, I’m a Fulham supporter, and I was privileged to watch Rodney play, although not in the aforementioned game against Carlisle. I live in Crawley, pretty close to their stadium (yes, I said stadium). I was born in Crawley, and after escaping to Manchester for five years, I was drawn back like a struggling fish on a line. The magnetic pull of this town is so great I even managed to persuade my girlfriend to move here from Birmingham. And she hates Crawley.

Rodney will probably have little more part in this blog (although if I hear any more about him, I’ll be sure to slide it into a post). What will is Fulham, Crawley, and my other passions, politics and books.

[update: YouTube have a clip from the Carlisle-Fulham game in 1997 here - enjoy!]

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