156 Reds fans made their way west last Tuesday evening heading for Wiltshire to face last season’s bogie team Swindon Town. During the relatively short coach journey around the M25 and along the M4 there wasn’t a hint of nerves amongst the CTSA membership; in fact the atmosphere was one of high spirits and getting close to carnival! We celebrated Gill’s birthday (27) with chocolates and joy and much confidence of victory (though unfortunately the cake we’d ordered with David Hunt inside didn’t arrive). The fact that this confidence was eventually proven to be misplaced didn’t harm spirits too much though. Mark Maskell (Langley Green) quickly turned a pound into £20 by guessing Aston Villa in the football scratch card game. He said, “that was lucky- it virtually pays for my ticket”. Virtually is right. Swindon have the most expensive away tickets in the league, but hey, someone needs to pay Paulo’s wages…..
We arrived around an hour prior to kick off. Ross, Andy and Rob received authorisation to hang their Crawley flags out on the open terrace. It may have taken them a little while to complete but the results were stunning. We have them tagged here with their handy work. Great work boys, it brought a piece of the Broadfield with us. As to match there isn’t a lot to say really, we lost to a very good side and lets just move on to the next game.
Off the pitch Town fans were in fine form especially during the 2nd half when drummer Ross beat out the great escape with gusto for 48 mins non stop supported by around 100 voices, clapping and jumping. We created one hell of a noise up there in the main stand.
East Stand season ticket holder Neil Smith (Southgate) made the trip with his young step children Erin and Josh. He said after the game, “Swindon played the better football and probably deserved to win but the first goal was a fluke and we didn’t defend the 2nd goal very well. The result aside its been an enjoyable evening. Our fans have made a lot of noise which Josh and Erin joined in!”
Town fans were back on the road 4 days later this time facing a 4 hour trip north to last season’s Championship side Doncaster Rovers. Two gleaming Clarkes of London coaches pulled up at 8am and soon, around 80 CTSA travellers were on their way up the M23, through the Dartford Tunnel and up the M11. The mood on coach 2 was a little less ‘hyped’ than for Swindon but it was clear that everyone was looking forward to their day. Silpa Winfield joined the party and seemed to enjoy her trip up with us.
It was Liam Wilson’s (Furness Green) turn to win £20 on the football scratch card when correctly guessing Leeds. After a rest stop in Peterborough both coaches were safely pulling into the 15000 all seater Keepmoat Stadium car park at around 1pm. A warm sticky afternoon greeted arriving fans, so some cooled down in the stadium bar and others found the Beefeater pub just down the road.
Their new stadium (well, it’s five years old, but that’s still new when you’re as old as I am!) is a real stunner. Everything is neat and tidy and it is certainly set up for fans to have great view of the action. Whatever they say about these “atmospheric” old stadiums, give me modern and comfortable every time. 256 Crawley Fans were housed in the North End, and the match kicked off in warm temperatures on what looked to be a carpet of a pitch.
In a compact and goalless opening period clear cut chances were at a premium but the away side might have just shaded it. During the 2nd half drummer Ross- the Keith Moon of the Broadfield- cranked up the rhythm and we all contributed to a symphony of noise which must have been clearly audible on the pitch. The team responded and during the final embers of the game AJOSE got the merest of touches to steer the ball just inside the far post sending 250 Reds fans into delirium. The one nil away victory was fully deserved.
Matt Harrison, originally from Gossops Green and now living in Derby was at the game with his young son Arthur (2) He said, “I thought we played very well today and never stopped running, the away fans played a massive part and there was an almighty roar when we scored. It’s Arthur’s first game and he seemed to be enjoying himself.”
The last gasp winner made for an exciting and lively trip home and by 9.30pm both coaches were back at base. Well done to the 4 drivers who made light work of the rainy conditions coming home and thanks to everyone who travelled with us.
Going forward we have 4 home matches on the trot to enjoy but CTSA will again be offering coach travel when we visit Preston North End on 15th September. Please get in contact with travel Ken to book your place. https://www.ctfcsa.co.uk/travel/ has more details.
Words and Pictures from Colin Bowman