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Crawley Town 2-2 Pilgrims

Dr Martens League

Match Report by Gary Houghton

United returned from their trip to West Sussex with a point from this top-of-the-table clash with Crawley Town. Crawley play at their new 'Broadfield Stadium', a modern concrete box affair, but covered on three sides with excellent facilities, car parking, refreshments etc. My only criticism of the stadium is the small depth to the terraces on the three standing sides of the ground giving them, I suspect, limited capacity should they need to play a big game. It's really a pity that they don't get bigger crowds, with many United supporters in the 800 gate. Maybe they are 'put off' by the tannoy announcers, who shout excitedly in an attempt, no doubt, to instil some life into a quiet home support, but only succeed in making an incomprehensible din.

The match started with a lively United pushing forward whenever possible and they really should have had the game sewn up inside the first 15 mins. After 5 mins, United forced a corner, and with the Crawley marking non-existent, Matt Carmichael had a free header from six yards but put it over with only the keeper to beat. Two mins later, with the disorganised Crawley defence attempting (badly) to play offside, CARMICHAEL, was left with the simple task of beating the Crawley keeper, which he took with his usual confidence. On 15 mins, Len Curtis, managed to get another free header from a Mason corner, and this too went just over from six yards with only the keeper to beat. United were well on top throughout the first half, but you couldn't help wondering if they would come to regret missing those early chances as the Crawley defence tightened up as the game went on.

We had to wait until the 42nd min for the first meaningful Crawley attack. United had not bothered to mark the Crawley left winger and when the ball was played out to him he had no problems getting the ball behind the United defence and his hard and low centre provided an easy tap-in for McENTEGART. With their tails up, Crawley pushed forward and 'Tex' had to make a last ditch foul on a Crawley forward just outside the box. Fortunately he made it look clumsy enough not to get sent-off and survived with a yellow. But the free kick proved costly as the hard and low shot was spilled by Bastock and ULLATHORNE made no mistake with the rebound. Half-time stopped the Crawley momentum and after the break the game became more of a midfield battle, but United were still able to create chances. A chip to the back post by Costello allowed Stanhope in, but he fired wide. Other half-chances fell to Stringfellow, Carmichael and Watts but none were able to convert. In the 82nd min, a near-post Stanhope corner was flicked on by Costello, and CHARLES was able to head in at the far post from only a yard out. Overall a well deserved point, but United will look back on the chances missed and will think that they should have come away with all three.

United team: 1. Paul Bastock, 2. Joby Gowshall, 3. Len Curtis, 4. Ian Stringfellow, 5. Martin Hardy, 6.Steve Charles, 7. Andrew Stanhope, 8. Peter Costello, 9. Matt Carmichael, 10. Dave Venables, 11. Richard Mason, 12. Paul Watts (Venables 45 mins), 14. Gary Childs (Mason 75 mins), 15. Darren Clyde.