AFTER a fantastic result against Stevenage last week when we scored the winner in the 98th minute, Newport County came crashing back down to earth with a bang losing 4-1 at Crawley Town on Saturday.
It was a bitterly disappointing defeat for us but one that could have been so different had we been on the end of some better decisions from the referee.
We started the game terribly and were 1-0 down within two minutes. Only for our goalkeeper, it would have been three or four goals down by half time. In the second half we were the better team and got a deserved equaliser. It looked like there was only going to be one winner but then a penalty decision changed the game.
Crawley were awarded a spot kick after our centre back was adjudged to have fouled the Crawley striker, but replays have shown the Crawley player kicked the ground and fell over. Instead of being in control of the game, we were trailing once again.
There followed five seconds of madness when our winger was clearly fouled on the edge of the Crawley box but no foul was given, then as the ball broke up field, one of our players lunged in with a tackle and was red carded. The red card was correct because it wasn’t a great tackle but the incident should never have happened.
The rest of the game was tough for us as we chased a result and then got caught on the break. We conceded two more goals to cap off a poor week.
The build up to the game was less than smooth as we were extremely short on numbers due to an injury crisis. The most first-team players we had available to train was nine outfield players. The physio worked hard and did a really good job to patch up as many of the lads as he could, but come the game on Saturday we only had 14 fit professionals available, so a youth team player was also on the bench, as was the manager who is still registered.
We still had more than enough to get a result but the red card really killed us.
That game is gone now and hopefully most of the injury problems are too, but we have two games this week which doesn’t help the situation.
We play Bury tonight (Tuesday) and they are coming into the game off the back of a great 4-0 victory over Notts County, so it is going to be a very tough clash.
If we didn’t have a midweek game, I think a lot of the lads would be fully fit for Saturday, but some might have to be rushed back, particularly as our centre back is suspended for the next three games.
On Saturday we are at home to one of my old clubs, Morecambe, and they are games that I always look forward to. I have a good relationship with the management there and some of the players that are still there from my time, so it will be nice to see them.
They have been going through a sticky patch lately, but I know how hard the manager works and he will have them well drilled.
They will know everything about us before the game, so it will be another difficult tie. Hopefully we can get two good results this week to get the momentum going again and to get us back into the automatic promotion places.
The sign of a good team is how they react to a bad defeat and we aim to show this week exactly what we are made of. Last weekend wasn’t a true reflection of what we are, so it is up to us now to show that we are where we are on merit and we aren’t going to slip down the league table.