Tag Archive: Crawley Town F.C.

By Tony Alvarez

Today sees the final fixtures in the regular season for both League One and League Two earlier in the week I wrote  a piece looking at the teams chasing automatic promotion and the play offs in League One, I will now focus on the positions up for grab in League Two.

As I earlier wrote an article on the relegation battle and who will survive the drop to non League Football I wont talk about that instead I will look at the teams battling for automatic promotion and play off positions.

The main talking point of the weekend is who will clinch 3rd place and an automatic promotion to League One. There are three teams in contention for just one position.

Crawley Town who recently lost manager Steve Evans to Rotherham are in pole position the currently occupy third spot with 81 points and a goal difference of +21 hot on their heels are Torquay who also have 81 points but only have a goal difference of +9 . The third team in with a chance is Southend United, they are a point behind bothCrawleyand Torquay but have a superior goal difference of +27.

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By Laurie Fitzgerald

Crawley Town‘s promotion hopes took another blow on Saturday when they lost at home to fellow League Two hopefuls Torquay United.

That defeat means its now just two wins from their last 11 league matches for the Red Devils as manager Steve Evans tries to keep alive their hopes of a top-three finish.

They currently sit in sixth position in League Two, six points adrift of Southend in third (who they face tonight) – but crucially they have three games in hand carried over from their excellent run in the FA Cup after they reached the fifth round for the second year running.

However, after their magnificent exploits in the last couple of years that saw them promoted to the Football League last season, Crawley have seen their chances of back-to-back promotions severely dented following the sales of their two best strikers.     Continue reading

By Tony Alvarez
Tonight sees a highly anticipated clash at League Two with Crawley Town taking on Cheltenham Town.

Crawley currently sit 4th in the table just outside the automatic promotion places although they are level on points with Swindon who occupy the final automatic promotion place and today’s fixture is a game in hand for the the side, a victory would see them go top of the table on goal difference.

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By Laurie Fitzgerald

AFC Bournemouth broke their club transfer record this week when they paid Crawley Town £800,000 for prolific striker Matt Tubbs.

It was a move that signalled the next big step in Tubbs career, which has come a long way in such a short space of time after plying his trade at non-league Salisbury Town only 18 months ago. 

The 27 year-old has had a stunning rise in the past couple of years since moving to Crawley back in the summer of 2010.

Tubbs scored 40 goals in all competitions last season to help the Red Devils gain promotion to the Football League for the first time in their history.

If there was any doubt that he could make the step-up to League football, Tubbs has quickly allayed those fears with his performances in League Two this campaign.   Continue reading

By Tony Alvarez

A look at the top of the League Two table will show a surprise and go against what many pundits and so called experts would of predicted at the start of the season, Morecombe under a rookie manager with no experience sitting top of the table with 16 points from 7 games with a goal difference of plus 13.

The side who finished 20th in the table last season and at some points flirted with relegation started off the campaign with a loss at last years final day survivors Barnet and many thought it was a sign of things to come.

However in the six League fixtures since then the club have won five and drawn one with a 1-1 draw at home to Bradford thanks to a 93rd minute equaliser from the Bantams denying Morecombe 18 points from an available 18.

Morecombe pulled off a huge shock on Saturday and possibly the win of the season when they beat pre season favourites for the titleCrawleyTown6-0, more notable is the fact that the result was deserved and didn’t flatter Morecombe at all.

The clubs former captain and shock appointment as manager Jim Bentley seems to have installed a great level of spirit and belief in a side who at times last season looked like they did not know how to play football.

The addition of winger Kevin Ellison on a free transfer fromRotherhamwas a huge boost for Morecombe having already noticed 4 goals in all competitions from his position on the wing.

The 5 goals from another free signing all be it in February Danny Carlton including his hat trick in the drubbing of Crawley have also helped Morecombe from predicted pre season relegation candidates to table toppers.

I must admit until this season I hadn’t seen much of Morecombe prior to this season, due to their status as about the 88th best side in the Football League highlight packages where limited to say the least.

I did however see them live in a game against Aldershot Town when now manager Jim Bentley was captain, I would describe his ability as limited but his attitude, commitment and passion was top notch and if he can get a similar level out of every player in his side Morecombe will go far.

For anyone who saw the Football League show on Saturday night it shows Bentley has some odd practises as manager and values everyone at the club highly, although I could never see Mr Mancini or Ferguson doing this it helps keep the club together and keep the unity that this side is built upon.

I personally don’t think Morecombe can keep up this form for the whole season but if Bentley keeps his players honest and playing with a level of commitment something similar to his own they will be there or there abouts come the end of the season.

What are your thoughts? Can Bentley’s spirit rub off on his side and guide them to promotion? Do the squad have the quality to maintain their current level of performance? What do you think Morecombe’s success is down to? Leave a comment and let us know your thoughts

By Laurie Fitzgerald

With the new Football League campaign finally underway following a summer devoid of a major international tournament affecting us, we’re right back in the thick of it with the beginning of this season’s Carling Cup.

Last year saw Birmingham City produce a real upset in the final as they stunned Arsenal 2-1 at Wembley Stadium thanks to a late goal from Obafemi Martins.

Because of the Blues’ triumph followed by their subsequent relegation, it meant they were given a bye due to their Europa League commitments and a preliminary round had to take place with one less place available in the First Round.

That took place between Crawley Town and AFC Wimbledon, the two promoted sides to League Two that had never played in the competition before.

Crawley ran out winners by beating the Dons 3-2, and Steve Evans’ side have been rewarded with an away trip to Championship outfit Crystal Palace.

It’s been an amazing 12 months for the West Sussex side. Last summer, there was a real danger they could go out of business after being issued with a winding-up order by HMRC.

Thankfully, investment was found and the debts, estimated to be around £1 million, were cleared. This allowed the club to go on a spending spree that would make them a force in the Blue Square Premier.

They lived up to the expectations that followed, going on to win the title, and finishing 15 points clear of the chasing pack.

The Red Devils have started league life brilliantly with two wins and a draw from their opening three games, and many are tipping them for another promotion push.

Evans has assembled a squad with much experience within the Football League, epitomised in the likes of Sergio Torres, and captain Pablo Mills.

But much is made of their prolific striker Matt Tubbs. The 27 year-old scored a staggering 40 goals in Crawley’s march to promotion last campaign, and is capable of repeating his goalscoring exploits this time around.

With a trip to Selhurst Park in store, the League Two side will very much be the underdogs against their higher-league opponents. However, they have plenty of experience from 2011 alone when it comes to giant-killing.

Crawley made it to the Fifth Round of the FA Cup, having knocked out the likes of Derby County and Torquay United to set up a David vs. Goliath clash with Manchester United.

They were eventually knocked out despite an impressive display at Old Trafford, narrowly losing 1-0. Now they’ll be hoping to stun the Eagles tonight and resume their cup upsets once again.

So what do you think? Will Crawley cause an upset at Selhurst Park? Or will Palace prove too strong for their League Two opponents?  Also, what other upsets do you think could take place over the next few days? Let us know your thoughts.

As I’m sure you’re all aware, due to the outbreak of violence in London and the rest of the country over the last few days, there have rightly been postponements within the football programme.

These include the two Carling Cup games that we have previewed – West Ham vs. Aldershot and Crystal Palace vs. Crawley Town. Because of this, the articles will be re-scheduled for when the games will now take place, which will be confirmed at a later date. Articles on SFTS will continue from tomorrow.

Many thanks for your understanding.

Evans has helped transform Crawley into Blue Square Premier champions

By Laurie Fitzgerald

It may only be the beginning of April, but this weekend saw the first promotion in English football clinched this season.

Crawley Town have been the best team in the Blue Square Premier, and they confirmed their superiority by clinching the title when they triumphed 3-0 at Tamworth on Saturday.

The victory was their 28th win of the campaign, and with just three defeats to their name they sit 14 points clear of nearest rivals AFC Wimbledon, despite still having five games left to play.

Many non-league fans feel that it has been an unfair battle with Crawley this season due to the financial strength that they’ve had available to them.

Having cleared their debts during the summer, the club gave manager Steve Evans the necessary resources to take the club into the Football League.

But as we’ve seen before in football on many occasions, money doesn’t guarantee success. Evans deserves a lot of credit with spending wisely on shaping a squad capable of challenging for promotion.

The likes of Sergio Torres, Michel Kuipers, Craig McAllister, Pablo Mills and Scott Neilson were amongst those who joined and help play a big part in what has been a historic season for the Red Devils.

However, it was fitting that the three points that wrapped up promotion were largely helped from the finishing of one of those summer recruits; star striker Matt Tubbs.

A brace against Tamworth gave him goals 34 & 35 of an outstanding season, and his regular supply of goals have given them the platform to launch a sustained push for the title.

Despite what has been a relentless march to League Two football next campaign, Evans and the squad deserve praise for ensuring that they focused on what was always their main priority.

A heroic run in the FA Cup saw them finally beaten away at Manchester United, but only after a spirited display in a 1-0 loss played in front of 9,000 of their own supporters at the Theatre of Dreams.

While their dreams in the world’s most famous cup competition ended that day, Evans did not let that famous run distract them from getting back to the league and taking advantage of the games in hand they had on their rivals.

Since their cup exit, they’ve gone unbeaten in 13 league matches, winning ten of them and making it impossible for the likes of Wimbledon and Luton Town to keep up with them.

Now they’ve achieved league football for the first time in their history, the question remains of how far Crawley Town can go in the next few years. There’s no doubt that stabilising themselves as a League Two side will be the aim next year.

But while their budget is bigger than any other non-league side, they also have more money available to them than most sides in the fourth tier of English football.

Having come so far in the past 12 months, Crawley fans will believe that anything is possible.

So what do you think? Are Crawley Town capable of pushing on next season in League Two? Will there be similar resources available to them this summer compared to 12 months ago? Let us know your thoughts.

By Tony Alvarez

Some of the more regular readers will remember that both myself and Laurie picked a side from the lower leagues to follow during the FA cup, should they win we follow them again in the next round should they lose, we follow the team that beat them until we get to the eventual winners.

 You may of seen yesterday’s article looking at Burnley’s tie against West Ham after Burnley beat Laurie’s pick Burton Albion in the fourth round.

 Following their some what unexpected win over League 2 side Torquay United I will now be following Blue Square Premier side Crawley Town, the first game I have to follow them…..away at Old Trafford.

   Crawley’s extra ordinary cup run started way back in October when they narrowly beat Newport Town 1-0 away after losing to them a week before in a home game in the league.

  They then continued on their cup run with a tie against lowly Guiseley and recorded a comprehensive 5-0 victory.

  Next up were Crawley’s toughest opponents so far and their first opposition from the Football League’s Swindon Town, this fixture finished 1-1 at Crawley’s Broadfield road stadium and against all odds Crawley recorded a 3-2 win in Swindon.

Following this was a third round tie against championship giants Derby County in a tie where Crawley were largely written off the magic of the cup reared its head and the non league side recorded a well deserved 2-1 victory.

 The club which is surely set for a place in the Football league next season then caused another c-upset by beating League Two side Torquay United away as mention above.

  There were huge scenes of jubilation as the draw was made and non league Crawley were drawn against possibly the biggest name in World football Manchester United. The fans will get to see their side face off against the most successful side in Premier League history the club will make a huge amount of money from ticket sales and the players get the experience of playing at the biggest club ground in Britain.

 The size of the occasion is clear for all to see and Crawley have released an official FA cup song to mark the clubs best ever club run. But what of Crawley’s chances of causing the biggest upset in recent times by beating or even holding the best side in England over the last 20 years to a draw?

It is obviously going to be a tough ask with some bookmakers offering odds of up to 1/20 but Crawley are in great form and haven’t lost in 11 fixtures in all competitions, do not let their lowly league status fool you it was recently commented that “Crawley are a Football League club in everything but status and that will almost certainly be changed in May.”

  Crawley thanks to some good investment in the club have a squad of very good players although not up to United’s standard they are very capable, top scorer Matthew Tubbs has set the Blue Square premier alight with 25 league goals already this term and he will be hoping to add to his impressive tally in the theatre of dreams, Crawley also have some football league pedigree in their squad after signing Midfielder Sergio Torres from Peterborough in the summer, the Argentinean has been a revelation and will relish the chance to prove himself against the international stars of Manchester United.  Another player with Football League pedigree is Pablo Mills he reached last seasons play off finals with Rotherham United and will hope for the chance to be playing in Wembley again in May.

 In my opinion Crawley do not have enough to trouble Manchester United with the experience and professionalism they have in their squad, I am not predicting a mauling because Crawley’s squad are too spirited and have too much pride to be embarrassed, I am predicted a victory by 2 or 3 goals and I think the Crawley fans will have something to cheer with their side scoring.

What do you think? Do Crawley have a chance of a major upset? What do you think the score will be? Will they be gracing the Football Leagues next season? Leave a comment and let us know.

 Also we have previously written an article on Crawley town to take a look click on the following link: https://shoutsfromthestands.wordpress.com/2011/01/14/can-crawley-towns-football-league-dream-become-a-reality/

Is the FA Cup set to undergo a drastic change?

By Laurie Fitzgerald

The FA Cup looks set to undergo a radical overhaul, putting in danger the traditions that have helped make the oldest cup competition in the world so loved.

It has been reported over the weekend that the new FA Chairman David Bernstein has organised ways of coming up with ideas to generate more interest.

Some ideas that are being suggested include the winners qualifying for the Champions League, introducing a seeding system for the top teams, scrapping replays and moving the final from 3pm to 5:30pm.

But with the cup still drawing moments of magic, with results such as Stevenage’s win over Newcastle and the run of non-league Crawley Town, is there a need for such radical steps?

There is definitely an understanding for the Football Association looking to shake up things; attendances have dwindled and a new TV deal needs to be negotiated soon for the rights to show FA Cup games.

But some of the ideas are too radical a step. The idea of creating a Champions League spot for the winners is ludicrous.

The Champions League is there to have Europe’s finest teams in it, and while seeing a team outside the top five or six winning the cup, being rewarded with a spot in the competition isn’t right.

Qualifying for the tournament is done over the 38 games of the Premier League, over a period of nine months – not from 6 games over a period of five months.

Moving the final to later in the day is a risky idea too. The beauty of FA Cup final day is that people get up and follow the build-up to the game from late in the morning till kick-off, taking in enough coverage.

Having the final another two and a half hours on means that people will get bored of the preparation for the game, and also lead to fans getting home even later in what is already a long day for them.

Scrapping replays is a difficult one to call. The great thing about no replays is that there is more of a do or die attitude to proceedings. Teams will have to try and win on the day or they will go out.

There is also the excitement of penalties that always add tension to any match. It’s a structure that works for the Carling Cup; it can also work for the FA Cup.

But sometimes the great moments are seeing the minnows claim a result at a top flight side and earn another crack at them at home; to see David drag Goliath to their own backyard for a fairer fight. These moments will disappear.

The best idea is the seeding system. While some may feel that it simply gives all the top teams more chance to go far in the cup, it also allows the lower league sides a greater chance to draw the likes of Manchester United and Chelsea.

So the possibility of radicalising the FA Cup can have its benefits and may reinvigorate followers, but Bernstein and his think-tank have to be careful that too much of a change doesn’t lose what makes the tournament so special.

So what do you think? Are the ideas proposed going to re-ignite the FA Cup? Are there any suggestions you think will be too radical? Does the competition need such steps? Let us know

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