Gregory fails to find home comforts
CRAWLEY manager John Gregory believes his players are afraid of playing at home after losing to fellow strugglers Port Vale.
Goals from Michael Brown and Louis Dodds ensured Crawley would go a fifth straight game without a home win, despite being awarded a second-half penalty and a late goal coming from substitute Conor Henderson.
It leaves them only two points clear of the relegation zone and they now face away trips to stragglers Leyton Orient and Colchester United over the festive period.
Gregory said: “The players seem to have a phobia of playing here. Our last two away matches were both very good.
“I don’t understand why. Try playing at Newcastle in front of 52,000 people.
“There’s no great crowd pressure here, our fans have been very good towards the team. Even at half-time they were fully behind them.
“Having seen what I saw in the first half I would’ve expected an improvement in the second half.
“There was an improvement; we had a penalty that wasn’t taken. That would’ve made a huge difference.”
Brown scored his fifth of the season by placing the ball into the top corner from 16 yards.
The midfielder had Dany N’Guessan to thank following a superb solo run which ended with the Frenchman cutting back for the 37-year-old.
And Dodds fired in his own rebound from close range 12 minutes later.
A one-two with Ben Williamson teed up the 28-year-old at the edge of the area and he scored after Lewis Price parried his initial effort.
An 89th-minute halfvolley from substitute Henderson went into the bottom corner for a late consolation but Crawley failed to create another chance in five minutes of injury time.
They had already been denied a way back into the game by Chris Neal, who saved Gavin Tomlin’s 62nd-minute penalty.
The shotstopper dived to his right to push the ball wide after Michael O’Connor brought down Marvin Elliott.
Yet Port Vale boss Rob Page has not ruled out bringing his team in on Christmas Day ahead of a tough Boxing Day clash against Sheffield United.
He said:“We’re going to do what we think is best to give us the best chance of winning the game.
“Sheffield United have proved against the big lads in the cup they’re capable of holding their own so we know we’re in for a tough game.
“There’s some shock results every week so let’s make it as uncomfortable for them as possible, but this performance is up there with the best.”
STAR MAN MICHA
EL BROWN PortVale