This second League defeat in a week wasn’t wholly unpredictable, especially as the bulk of the XI that turned out less than 72 hours beforehand in the heartbreaking aggregate JPT loss at Southend could have excusably been feeling the effects of an epic 90 minutes.
Crawley – and star winger in Saturday’s clash – Nicky Adams – once an Orient loanee - were certainly a tough nut to crack and for a side that has flirted with the play-off zone and beat us back in September, last Saturday proved none the easier.
Once they had got their goal – rather fortuitous some might say, as many such efforts might have ended up in the flats behind the stand – they showed just what it takes to win football matches at League One level.
It wasn’t pretty – you could use the pitch as excuse, though – but they dug in, denying us space and without us creating many clear cut chances, the game ebbed away into a frustrating conclusion. Although, it must be asked as to why Shaun Batt only started on the bench and when he did eventually enter the fray, we looked in with a chance of nicking a point. After all, the striker looked good at Southend, got his goal and could have become an instant hero by bagging us a late winner – but hit the woodwork at Roots Hall – proving what thin margins there are.
But, the beauty of football is that there is another chance of redemption and who would bet against us returning south from Bramall Lane, Sheffield tomorrow with a welcome three points?
Strange as football is, there are no dead certs in this division and the Blades are back on top of the tree after a post-Xmas slump that saw them fall off their perch and suffering a shock when they were turned over by our destroyers from weekend before last, Hartlepool.
And, they don’t get any easier as Bournemouth are due here this coming Saturday, and like the Sheffield home defeat back in September, it will certainly be an opportunity for us to gain some retribution.
However, the fans – like at Southend in midweek – must also play their part. After all, with Crawley’s decent following, there must have been less than 3000 home supporters present last Saturday and the attendance levels surely need an improvement as the team needs your support, as there are plenty of games left and points still left to play for.
Keep the faith,
Up the O's.