Not deterred by a 700 mile round trip most of the 144 Reds fans left Crawley before day break. The CTSA coach left Broadfield at 5.30 am and understandably everything was very quiet until pulling into the Warwick services at 8.30 am, with the peace only broken by occasional snoring. As our regular travel expert, Ken, was flying back from New York Chairman Paul looked after us all day. After much needed food and coffee normal coach banter resumed and due to light traffic we pulled into Brunton Park at around 12.30am.
On the way up I caught up with Mary Simpson from Ifield and her son James who were making their first away trip of the season. It turns out that Mary was born in Morecambe and moved to Sussex 1983. She revealed, “we were back home for that Morecambe v Crawley game last season and James went to watch.For some reason he didn’t have much to say about that one!” Both were looking forward to the day and were very happy to be sitting on a coach for 12 hours.
Carlisle is an attractive city with neat Victorian terrace housing, wide cobbled streets and a bustling city centre. Its probably worth a visit if you in the the Lakes area. In the Griffin Pub around 20 Reds fans had gathered to enjoy a pre match beer. It was here that I met Stephen Treagus of Bewbush and his sons Stewart and Richard who are now living in Aberdeen. Richard explained, “it’s my birthday today and we decided to meet up for this fixture. I used to take the boys to the Broadfield as kids and they still support the club.” Stewart added, “It’s taken us 4 hours to get down here but its great to all meet up and go to the game. Win draw or lose we are staying over this evening and will be having a big night out!”
Brunton Park is the biggest non all-seater ground in the country at 19,200 capacity. For the purist it’s certainly got that traditional old school vibe going on with a huge covered home end terrace and massive terracing running alongside the pitch in front of the main stand. With the small crowd of 4200 it sadly seemed as if we were all rattling around a bit. It’s a familiar story that we have noticed at Doncaster, Preston and Colchester. Reds fans were housed in the Story Homes stand which offered a brilliant view of the action.
A stiff and chilly breeze accompanied the game through out and it was the home side which made the better start. During a tense 1st half they created three or four good chances which went begging. Crawley seemed a little jittery but Claude Davis was having a brilliant game at the back. Against the wind in the 2nd half Crawley got the ball down and stroked it around. Things took a positive turn on 61 mins when new boy Byrne broke through and slotted home with style. Cue wild celebrations for 144 people in the stands. Adams then crashed in a deflected 2nd and the game was up with 3 massive away points in the bag. At the end of the game it was lovely to see the players come over and give us fans a wave and salute.
On the long journey home Mary Simpson summed up. “I thought we were very lucky to be level at the break as the home side were on top, however we improved dramatically in the second period and scored 2 great goals.” She added, “defensively we were strong today and Claude Davis was at the heart of it all so gets my man of the match.Despite the very early start this morning it has been a brilliant and enjoyable day out and we would definitely like to travel with CTSA again.”
On the final approach Community officer Matt entertained us all with a sports quiz which was surprisingly won by dynamic duo Chairman P and Andy Tester. I say surprisingly not because I believe them to be a bit dim, but because they spent the entire day prior to this arguing about biscuits!
The day was finally over when the coach safely pulled back into Crawley at 11.35pm. As usual our Clarkes drivers were fantastic through out the day. Our relationship with our travel providers is very strong and we hope our members are enjoying their journeys with us.
That’s 3 league away wins already this term. It’s an extraordinary return for a club making it’s League one debut. The message is, lets get a huge following to Brentford on Saturday and cheer the boys on to a 4th !
Words and Pictures by Colin “Special Brew” Bowman, CTSA Matchday and Event Press…..