David Cameron Walker

Posts Tagged ‘Gary Alexander’

Promotion challenge falling to pieces

Tuesday, November 27th, 2012

After a good start to the season which saw Crawley Town up to the dizzy heights of second in League One at one stage, the club has slipped to ninth thanks to a run of  just one win in November, away to Met Police in the FA Cup, and no wins in six in the league. Worrying times indeed, but the lack of goals and indeed a goalscorer is the main concern. Gary Alexander, reliable for much of last season for both Brentford and Crawley when he joined, is clearly lacking confidence (although he did hit the post this weekend.)

It’s been frustrating because for much of this period, the team have played okay but individual errors and lapses in concentration have cost us. For example, against Oldham we were comfortable for much of the game, but had to settle for a draw after going behind and then being rescued by a late Kyle McFadzean strike.

Against Yeovil on Tuesday night, we put in probably one of our best performances of the season (certainly at home,) and somehow came away with nothing after a late own goal by David Hunt – this was despite dominating them in the second half and failing to convert numerous goal mouth scrambles. You get the feeling that if, dare I say it, Matt Tubbs had been playing, he may have stuck away a goal or two and we’d have got the win we deserved.

Is Matt Tubbs the answer? I’d say yes. Part of it is the sentimental side of me wanting the best striker in the club’s history back ‘home’ but part of it is thinking logically. Crawley needs a goalscorer, Tubbs is a goalscorer. The club, in particular the fans, need a lift and signing a club legend would bring exactly that, so why not? He’s out of favour at Bournemouth, has already said he’d be open to a move back and is exactly what we’re missing. The only problem I can see is that Bournemouth paid a huge fee for him and would want a fair amount of that money back, money Crawley just don’t have.

Despite us spending huge amounts of money on back to back promotions, mainly transfer fees, we  have cut back on our spending and this summer, in the main relying on loans and free transfers. One thing is for certain though, and that is we need goals desperately, whether it be in the form of Matt Tubbs, Gary Alexander finding his shooting boots or perhaps a young striker who’s scored 23 goals whilst on loan at Met Police – Jonte Smith.

Granted, League One is a completely different level, but I’m a firm believer that if you’re a natural goalscorer you’ll be able to make the step up to any level (to a degree) and unlike Tubbs he won’t actually cost anything. He’s a product of the revamped youth system here at Crawley and it would be nice to see him given a game.

Despite all this, there have been a few bright sparks – namely Nicky Adams and Kyle McFadzean.

Both have been absolute class and should be playing in the Championship. McFadzean is definitely the best defender we’ve ever had, and has been an absolute rock alongside Big Claude Davis. Somehow the club have managed to convince him to sign a three year contract, but if he stays for even half of that I’ll be surprised. Nicky Adams is equally brilliant, always giving 100% and he’s the kind of winger that gets people off their seat – always looking to take the full back on and get a cross in. He’s even chipped in with a few goals this season.

So it’s not all doom and gloom – and if Crawley can start taking our chances we’ll rise back into the play off places once more. But to be honest, I think a lot of people are over reacting to an admittedly bad period considering where we were a few years ago. If you ask me we need to just enjoy being in League One and support the team and Richie Barker. Moaning won’t serve to help the team, and, let’s be honest, if you were giving 100% each week (and I don’t doubt the players do) and all you got in return was fans getting on your back, what would you think?

Written by Louie Elmer, We Are Going Up’s Crawley Town blogger

Louie tweets at @LouieElmer

Welcome, Gary Alexander

Thursday, March 8th, 2012

The last couple of months have been bleak for Crawley Town. Oh so bleak. With the exception of the side’s FA Cup exploits, nothing good has happened at all on the pitch, and when Matt Tubbs was sold a day before the closure of the January transfer window, two days after he scored that goal against Hull, it seemed to all it would derail the season further, but it didn’t at first.

Steve Evans moved to bring in Billy Clarke from Blackpool, who so far has done everything but score and looked like he was going to link up with Super Tyrone Barnett. Indeed, his debut against Cheltenham was the best debut I remember for a long time and believe me, there’s been  had a lot of Crawley debuts in the last 18 months or so. A lot.

But  just less than a month later the unthinkable happened. Tyrone Barnett was loaned to Peterborough with a permanent switch to happen in the summer, so just three weeks after losing talismanic top scorer Tubbs, the second top scorer was sold. It was inexplicable at the time and still is now – Crawley have not won a game since Barnett was sold, and only one since Tubbs left.

People will associate the current bad form with the loss of Tubbs and Barnett, but to be frank it all started on a cold Boxing Day against Gillingham.

The match started off quite normally- the two ends of the ground packed and making plenty of noise, then on 18 minutes a poor pass from Kyle McFadzean saw Claude Davis caught out by Joe Kuffour, who was brought down by the big Jamaican international. Davis saw red, and things weren’t going Town’s way.

But on 34 minutes, a free kick was pumped into the box and Kyle McFadzean threw himself at the ball, alas, only making contact with the right boot of Danny Kedwell. A pelanty was given, and Tubbs converted to make it 1-0. The second half began with Gillingham attacking down the right with a Chris Whelpdale cross being converted by Joe Kuffour, although how much he knew about it is dubious. Just two minutes later, and Kuffour scored again. Running into the area at Pablo Mills, he dummied to his left and sprinted to his right and sent a shot across a despairing Scott Shearer. 2-1, and little did the fans know, but that was to turn their side’s season around.

The match, despite a late surge by the men in Red, was to finish that way and whilst some say Tubbs and Barnett leaving was the catalyst for the poor run of form, the end of the influential Andy Drury’s loan spell earlier that week was, in my opinion, what did it. The midfielder really offered a creative option that was missing previously.

It’s now the 8th of March, and things have taken a turn for the worse. The fans have turned on the board and all hopes of promotion are quickly fading. The atmosphere at the club, once positive and jubilant, is now tense and pessimistic. Goals are coming at a premium, and wins even more so.

But since Billy Clarke has come in, that creativity has come back to the side. He initially linked up well with Barnett, but that partnership was broken when Peterborough came calling for SuperTy. Since then no one has been able to feed off Clarke’s craft.

However things may just be looking up. Today it was announced that Gary Alexander, a prolific striker throughout his career, would be joining initially on loan from Brentford before making the switch permanent in the summer. If the 32-year-old can get ten to fifteen goals before the season’s over then Crawley may well be back in the hunt for automatic promotion. It does seem the club have now got someone who can put those chances away, at last.

Things aren’t over yet, they never are at Crawley Town.

Written by Louie Elmer, We Are Going Up’s Crawley Town blogger

Louie tweets at @LouieElmer

Waiting for the quiet revolution

Sunday, November 20th, 2011

With a third of the season gone Brentford are sitting where they have been for the last three seasons, just above mid-table, offending none, scaring fewer, occupying ninth spot in the table. The side’s latest outing, a home defeat to table topping Charlton, epitomised what has been a frustrating season so far for a side many tipped to make the play-offs. Most of those doing the tipping were Bees fans, but failure to score goals and finish successfully is hurting the club.

Manager Uwe Rosler, quoted after the Charlton game – which Brentford dominated for 80% of the time – said his side Brentford didnt have a quality goal scorer akin to Bradley Wright-Philips, a player who pretty much wandered round the pitch for 90 mins, but more importantly took his only real chance with ease.

In the summer money was splashed on Crewe Alexandra’s 28-goal man Clayton Donaldson, with the idea that he would be looking at a 15 plus season at a higher level. On recent performances, That wont happen. Gary Alexander works relentlessly, but isnt in the side for his goals, but more for his ‘human wrecking ball’ qualities. Mike Grella looks good and exciting, but doesnt seem to fit a system that favours two big men up top. A worrying statistic for Brentford fans, only one goal since 9th October has come from open play in the League.

Even more concerning is the form of Charlie MacDonald, sold to to that abomination of a club, and has six goals for franchise FC, more than any Brentford player. The club’s leading goal scorer is Sam Saunders with five, four of those have come from free-kicks.

For all the better football that Bees supporters have witnessed, the goals are drying up. 20 in 18 league games is concerning, especially considering that five of the top six have that much, or more just at home. Brentford are in the semi finals of the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy, amongst three League Two sides, so would hope Wembley beckons for a second year in a row. A favourable home tie in the FA Cup against either Wrexham or Cambridge could see a lucrative third round tie also. But this is Brentford – anything can happen. They certainly won’t make it easy for themselves.

You could accuse me of being overly pessimistic. The club sit 8th in League One, two points of the playoffs and as said, are doing well in two cups. So the future is bright, despite the lack of goal scoring prowess. The football quality is better, and an attendance of over 8,000 against Charlton was pleasing to see.

What is more concerning is the abuse and derogatory comments made by fellow supporters directed at each other. I stand on the Ealing Round terrace, the heartbeat of the home support and the amount of discourse that exists on the terraces is quite staggering. I have been to many home ends across the country in my years, and have never experienced such vitriol dished out to a fellow supporter.

Whilst some results have been frustrating, fans have often turned on each other which is very concerning. The club have their problems, treading water against the financial clout, marketing prowess and lure of premiership football from nearby QPR, Fulham, Chelsea as well as the other London and big teams. Whether this constant fear of financial floundering – helped or not by major investment from Matthew Benham, a professional gambler – plays on fans’ minds, or its the bitterness that comes with years of frustration and ‘what could have been’ situations, the frequency that it bubbles to the surface is worrying.

As the club sets it’s targets higher and higher the agonizing games, such as the 1-0 loss to Charlton, will only stoke that agression. The future, if one of failure, is bleak.

Written by Chris Fairbank, We Are Going Up’s Brentford Blogger

Chris tweets at @crumblechris