‘A big opportunity missed’ – Gilmartin on U’s defeat at Crawley

U's keeper, Rene Gilmartin, who rues a missed opportunity to pick up points at Crawley Town. Picture

U's keeper, Rene Gilmartin, who rues a missed opportunity to pick up points at Crawley Town. Picture: STEVE WALLER - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

Rene Gilmartin admitted that Colchester United’s surprise 2-0 defeat at 10-man Crawley Town on New Year’s Day was a “big opportunity missed.”

The U’s began the day in fourth slot, but by the end of it they had dropped out of the top seven after a brace from Luke Gabbin sunk the sorry U’s without a trace in West Sussex.

Crawley had taken just one point from their previous five matches, and were reduced to 10 men by defender Joe McNerney’s straight red card for a late challenge on Harry Pell on the half-hour mark.

But the U’s could not capitalise on their numerical advantage, with the Red Devils scoring twice in the second half, Gambin beating keeper Gilmartin twice from long-range in the 61st and 90th minutes.

“We are very disappointed, because this was a big opportunity missed, that’s the way we look at it,” insisted Gilmartin.

“They went down to 10 men, and I think when it was 11 versus 11 we were on top in the game, and we were performing the way that we have been.

“We had chances, just before the end of the first half, and you could see a goal coming for us.

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“Crawley were always a threat on the counter, when they had 11 and then down to 10, but we should have had enough in that game to have taken all three points.

“When they went down to 10 men, we felt we should have gone on to win the game, although even before then the body language of the players in the first half was very positive – we were at it, we were very vocal and we were urging each other on.

“Crawley were backs-to-the-wall for the whole game, and they defended immensely, to be fair.

“They were getting in blocks and getting bodies on the line. I just felt that the ball did not fall for us.

“We hit the cross-bar in the first half (Luke Norris), and if that went in then it would have opened it up a little more.

“Crawley would have had to come out, but instead they sat back with their two banks-of-four and the one player up front.

“Sometimes it can be difficult against 10 men, and Crawley made it difficult on the counter, but as I said we had enough chances to win the game,” added U’s keeper Gilmartin.

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