Cherry Oh (Yeah) Baby

Kev Neylon
7 min readFeb 20, 2024

I’m mangling UB40 this time (although it was a cover of an Eric Donaldson song — also covered by The Rolling Stones). It could have been different as it was tempting to take one of the artists on Cherry Red Records instead and have The Dead Kennedys and Too Drunk To (Give A) Fuck as the title.

Another Tuesday night, another game, an away one this time, with the relatively short trip over to the Cherry Red Records Stadium to face rivals AFC Wimbledon.

The game follows hot on the heels of a welcome win and clean sheet on Saturday against Forest Green Rovers. Going into the match we are seven places behind AFC, but only four points, as it is still ridiculously close from the last playoff place down to nineteenth, with only three wins separating the lot, and only two points separating seventh from fourteenth, and a win tonight would put us into that group as well.

Our last game against AFC was the Friday before Christmas where we fell to a 1–2 defeat in a game we should have got something out of, and marked by individual errors to give them both goals (have we heard that before this season?) This game is rearranged from January when they had a frozen pitch. They were busier than us in the transfer window, but disappointingly still haven’t signed a Bulgarian uncle.

It is our third away trip of the season, and it is the first time we have gone on one of the GH Travel supporters’ coaches. It means sloping off work early so we can get to the Broadfield Stadium for 5pm.

The game will be the first chance this season to get a programme (yes, I’m still banging on about programmes). And I’m aiming to get a few, not to make up for the lack of them over the rest of the season, but because I’ve got some writing in the programme, as the away fan’s perspective section of it. Always good to have copies of stuff that make it into print.

There were two coaches for this trip. And they were both quite full. Have I mentioned I don’t travel well on coaches. It is slow going pretty much from turning off near Coulsdon South station to the ground, and the access road in to park the coach isn’t a reversing job I’d particularly want to do in my car. I’m glad to be off the coach and in the fresh air. I don’t think coach travel to long distance games is for me.

I haven’t been to this ground before, and never made it to the old Plough Lane ground either, so went and found the Wimbledon FC monument whilst getting some pre match food. Aptly it is only fifty meters away from the Wimbledon cemetery.

I got into the ground after food, about fifteen minutes before kick-off and there were no programmes, they had all sold out just before I got there, so I didn’t get one, let alone a few. But the guy who collates them for the club is going to get a copy sent to me.

The stewards didn’t seem able to cope with the volume of the fans trying to get into the stand through just the one opening. In both senses of the word, the number of fans, and the sound. There is a lot of noise being generated by the Crawley support, a hell of a lot more than by the AFC support, something which carried on all game.

Crawley were in their all-white kit, and Corey Addai was in a striking pink and purple outfit. AFC were in their all dark blue kit with the one large yellow stripe.

Most of the early going is AFC Wimbledon pressure and it takes nearly ten minutes for us to get into the game at all. We have an attack and the ball bounces around in the box though we have difficulty getting a shot off in the box before one is attempted and skied over.

There is a clash on the edge of our D and Jay Williams is penalised. The free kick to AFC is dead centre, and the attempt is on target to the top right-hand corner, but Addai saves it, and it goes for a corner. A few minutes later an AFC player goes down on the edge of the area claiming an elbow. He gets a free kick but there is no booking for Williams but it’s his final warning from the referee.

After some more AFC pressure, we get some of our own at the other end and win a corner. We have a couple of shots and then win a free kick on the edge of their area which amounts to nothing. AFC attack again and Dion Conroy is only inches away from deflecting the cross into his own net.

Towards the end of the half Crawley are beginning to get on top. There is one added minute before the half ends with the score at 0–0.

Random half time observation. So, on one side of the ground there are flats overlooking the ground. What is amusing (to me at least) is the number of lights on with closed curtains. Why move to a flat overlooking the ground if you don’t like football?

AFC start the second half quicker than Crawley again and get an early corner which is cleared. Ball 1 sails over the flats’ side stand from an AFC clearance. Then we give another free kick away on the edge of our area it is crossed but the shot is sliced high and wide. We attack and Ronan D’Arcy has a shot from outside the box but it’s an easy save for their keeper.

There is more AFC pressure, the ball goes back and forth across the goal area and the final shot forces a great save from Addai. And from the resulting corner there is another shot which is straight at Addai. There was a flurry of subs on both sides, and we seemed to pick up our play almost immediately.

Kellan Gordon looks like he was brought down in the box, but penalty appeals are waved away. Our next attack sees Adam Campbell try and lift the ball over the keeper, only for him not to get enough power on it and for it to drop into the keeper’s hands. We have another attack and there is a Klaidi Lolos shot which goes wide from the edge of the area.

Another good spell of pressure follows, and a ball comes into the area and an AFC player slices it across the front of the six-yard box and Danilo Orsi is there to turn it in and we lead 1–0. Cue mass celebrations, a large number of worried looking stewards, and the inevitable idiotic flare going off. When everyone has returned to their seats (to stand in front of), one of the stewards was then laughing and pointing out to a colleague that there was a Crawley fan with their top off in the stand.

We keep attacking and another Lolos shot is easily saved. There are three added minutes which start with a Nick Tsaroulla shot over the stand we are in, and it is ball loss number two of the evening. The added time sees AFC pumping the ball into the box, but Addai is collecting everything, falling to the floor, and taking his time. The full-time whistle goes and it’s a 1–0 win for us.

Another flare is thrown onto the pitch as part of the post-match celebrations, and the police get involved and there looks to be a couple of arrests.

The win moves us up one place to fourteenth we are now only two points behind the final play off place. Next up Accrington Stanley away a team only a point ahead of us.

Come on you Reds.

For other Crawley Town articles check out the list below

CTFC Match Reports

47 stories

If you liked this post, follow me or get on my email list for future posts. Some may even be more enjoyable than this one.

You can find articles I have already published here.

And feel free to clap (any will do), or highlight (pick something at random), or comment (any old gobbledygook will do), or best yet all three.

--

--

Kev Neylon

Writing fiction, travel, history, sport, & music blogs. Monthly e-zine with all kinds of writing at www.onetruekev.co.uk. All pictures used are my own.