Taste of the Terrace: Should KAG have been the false nine?

Action from Saturday's game. Picture by Peter Cripps
Action from Saturday's game. Picture by Peter Cripps

I was delighted to spend Tuesday evening at Culver Road, Lancing at the semi final of the Sussex Senior Cup.

Firstly it took me away from being confined to barracks following my accident. I greatly appreciated Alain Harper’s efforts as chauffeur in the rush hour.

More importantly the Reds, when faced with a tie that they should have won comfortably, actually played as they needed to and so achieved the expected win. No disrespect to Saltdean United but at time it did seem a bit like boys against men.

In particular Saltdean struggled against the pace of Enzio Boldewijn on the right flank whilst on the left sparkling interplay between Moussa Sanoh and Josh Doherty left them equally bewildered. The final strike of Jimmy Smith’s hat-trick was a peach.

The 6-0 scoreline ensured our return to the Amex for the final, hopefully against Brighton & Hove Albion U23 giving us the opportunity to redress the balance for last season’s capitulation.

Everything seemed set fair for the clash with Morecambe which should surely have consolidated our position in the top half of the table. It turned out to be one of those days when we could not turn our territorial superiority into goals and which left everybody feeling very frustrated.

There was a widely held feeling that our set up was wrong.

In particular the decision to play Mark Randall as a false nine rebounded badly on the manager.

The midfielder never got into the game, seemingly lacking both pace and enthusiasm, and the reaction in the West Stand was that he did not merit his place in the team.

It was odd that Karlan Ahearne-Grant, with nine on his shirt, was marooned on the left wing where his impact was limited.

He had little trouble with the visiting defenders but had to cut inside to muster his four chances. Luckily the fourth one ended up in the net thus saving Crawley from an ignominious defeat.

Reds had the better of the exchanges and kept Morecambe keeper Barry Roche fully occupied. They had several potential match winners, especially Man of the Match Lewis Young, but somehow contrived to find every possible reason not to score.

Needless to say Sod’s Law again applied and in added time some defensive slackness allowed Morecambe to poach a soft goal and take an undeserved lead. Glenn Morris’ clearance was headed back into our half to Callum Lang with nobody near him.

That KAG levelled things up a couple of minutes later was no more than justice but the sharpness shown in midweek was sorely missed. He slotted a low cross from Dannie Bulman at the far post following another excellent forward pass by Young.

Next up is a difficult game at Brunton Park against Carlisle so it might be a good idea if the squad spent some time before Thursday’s departure honing their shooting skills.

Five things we learnt from Crawley’s last-gasp draw against Morecambe

Mixed feelings for Kewell following Crawley draw