Town 2 Crawley Town 2
Town: Chris Weale, Jermaine Grandison, Joe Jacobson, Luke Summerfield, Darren Jones, Mark Wright (Paul Parry), Matt Richards (c ), Marvin Morgan, Jon Taylor, Connor Goldson, Luke Rodgers ( Tom Bradshaw 74)
Subs: Rob Purdie, Asa Hall, Ryan Doble, Aaron Wildig, Joe Anyon
Crawley Town: Paul Jones, Mat Sadler, Mark Connolly, Hope Akpan, Sergio Torres (Dannie Bulman 66), Josh Simpson (c ), David Hunt, Nicky Ajose, Nicky Adams (John Akinde 66), Claude Davis
Subs: Connor Clifford, Joe Walsh, Nathan Byrne, Mike Jones, Michael Kuipers
Ref: Andy Woolmer
Assistants: Mark Pottage & Alan Young
Fourth Official: Christopher Powell
Attendance: 2770 (243)
Graham Turner makes the one change to the side that started at Oldham Athletic with Connor Goldson coming in to replace Cameron Gayle who has been missing all week with an injury.
Town got off to an awful start after conceding a free-kick around 20 yards from goal after Mark Wright was adjudged to have fouled. It was a poor free-kick that came in low to the edge of the box, Simpson reacted quickest to drive in a low shot that snuck in low at the base of Weale's left-hand post.
Some might thought Town might crumble but they dug in and weathered from Crawley possession and then looked to get back into the game. They managed this on 13 minutes when good work down the right from Jon Taylor saw him beat Mat Sadler and deliver a good delivery towards the backpost, the keeper cleared but only as far as Matt Richards, he checked to put the ball onto his right and and hit in a great shot that flew through a crowded box and into the Crawley net to make it 1-1.
The goal buoyed Town and they were looking stronger and putting the hard work in to stop Crawley playing. The visitors were seeing good possession and starting to look more dangerous and take the game to Crawley.
The game stopped on 25 minutes after Mark Wright had gone down off the ball, after a period of treatment Wrighty limped off the field to be replaced by Paul Parry in a straight switch.
Town had a good chance to snatch the lead after a chipped ball over the top saw confusion in the Crawley defence, Morgan challenge Connolly for the ball and managed to chip the ball towards goal, it didn't have enough on it but Jon Taylor sneaked in and looped a header in but this also lacked power and Jones in the Crawley net gratefully collected the ball.
On 34 minutes Jon Taylor picked the ball up just inside the Town half, he then pushed forward and kept going, he skipped back a couple of tackles and drove to the edge of the box before calmly placing a shot past Jones to see Town take the lead.
Town were playing some good stuff on a pitch which was cutting up all the time. The forward line were seeing a lot of the ball and creating openings and chances, Morgan went close, Jon Taylor was causing all sorts of problems and Matt Richards curled in a free-kick from a tight angle that Paul Jones in the Crawley net had to tip over at the last minute.
Crawley came out strong after the restart but it was Town who had a great chance after 5 minutes, Town were strong to snuff out a Crawley attack and Richards then curled a great ball in behind the home defence to find Jon Taylor, he held the ball up well to get and then fed it into the run of Rodgers who broke into the box, he just over hit the ball up and had to check and when he shot a Crawley defender had got back to block the ball..
Town were soaking up the Crawley pressure and looking to hit back on the break and just before quarter hour mark Jermaine Gransdison was strong to nick the ball away and then played a lovely ball in behind the Crawley defence to put Rodgers in on goal, he had to go wide but was weighing up his options and then chose to drive in a strong shot on the diagonal but Jones was equal to it with a great block.
Crawley were putting the pressure on with 20 minutes on the clock but the Town players were all putting in the work to snuff out any chances or sights of goal that he home side did create. And a double substitution that saw Akinde and Bullman come on saw Crawley switch to a more direct style to try to get back on level terms.
With just over 15 minutes remaining Graham Turner make a switch that saw Luke Rodgers replaced in a like for like change, Rodgers had put in a good shift and Bradshaw coming on a fresh pair of legs could hopefully give Town an edge on the counter attack.
It was 2-2 with 10 minutes remaining after Town failed to clear their lines, a Crawley attack broke down and Jon Taylor tried to let the ball run for a goalkick, the ball held and that allowed a Crawley player to nick the ball back across the Town goal and Simpson pounced to strike ball home and level the score.
It was end to end stuff as the final whistle approached, Crawley had a chance from a corner but Town then hit back on the counter attack with Bradshaw breaking and then trying to play in Taylor. Moments later the ball was back in the Town penalty box with Weale and his defence putting bodies in the was to get important blocks in.
Town should have won it in the final seconds after great work from Morgan on the edge of the box, he was strong to get the ball and come away with it, he played it to the opposite edge of the box to find Parry, he in turn hit a great ball across the face of the goal to find Tom Bradshaw but the ball got caught under his feet and he put it the wrong side of the post.
Town 2 Crawley 2