Town 1 Crawley Town 1
Town: Joe Anyon, Ryan Woods, Connor Goldson, Tamika Mkandawire (c), Paul Parry, Sam Foley (Nathaniel Mendez-Laing 69), Jon Taylor (Jermaine Grandison 45), Asa Hall, David McAllister, Joseph Mills, Miles Storey (Bahrudin Atajic 79)
Subs: Chris Weale, Dave Winfield, Dom Smith, Joe Jacobson
Crawley Town: Paul Jones, Mat Sadler, Mark Connolly, Kyle McFadzean, Billy Clarke, Rory Fallon (Jamie Proctor 63), Josh Simpson, Joe Walsh, Dannie Bulman, Mike Jones, Gary Dicker (Sergio Torres 73)
Subs: Sullay Kaikai, Hiram Boateng, Matt Tubbs, Jonathan Maddison, Paul Connolly
Referee: Paul Tierney
Assistants: Joe Clark & Robert Merchant
Fourth Official: Marvyn Amphlett
Attendance: 4039 (80)
Mike Jackson decides on just the one change from his line-up which lost by the odd goal in five against Bristol City here on Saturday. Joseph Mills drops in at left back to replace Joe Jacobson who has to settle for a place amongst an otherwise unchanged bench.
There were good chances for both sides in the opening 7 minutes with Asa Hall putting his header right into Paul Jones after a good cross from Ryan Woods, while at the other end a lovely ball from McFadzen found Billy Clarke in on goal, Anyon was quickly out and luckily for Town Clarke lifted his shot well over the bar.
Crawley were having the better of the play in the early exchanges for Town were doing the defensive work well and getting the blocks in when needed. The visitors were putting a number of balls in behind the Town defence for Clarke to run onto and this was causing Town a number of problems.
The visitors took the lead on 23 minutes after they were awarded a free-kick about 25 yards from the Town goal, the free-kick was driven into the Town wall which held strong but the ball fell to Josh Simpson who drove in a low shot which flew low into the far corner to make it 1-0 to Crawley.
Town weren't getting into the game but on 34 minutes they were nearly handed a lifeline when a Crawley clearance dropped to Miles Story, he cut in on goal and clipped a ball past Jones from the angle but the post wasn't going to help Town and the ball hit the inside and came out, Taylor was coming in but the ball didn't drop for him and Crawley cleared their lines.
There was a number of changes during the game to the Town formation and this seemed to make Town a little stronger and take away a little of the visitors attacking play. But Town were making too many little mistakes and were looking uncomfortable on the ball at times, and the half-time break couldn't come quickly enough.
The second half started with a change in personnel with Jermaine Grandison on to replace Jon Taylor, Jermaine dropped to right-back with Ryan Woods pushing into the midfield. Town looked brighter after the restart and Asa Hall had a couple of good chances, one a shot that he got wrong and the other a decent header which went just wide of the target.
10 minutes into the half Town were back on level terms, it started with a Grandison step over, Story played his part to get a good cross in, Hall was pushed but then the ball dropped into space for Parry, he kept his calm and waited for the space and then curled in a great shot past Jones to give Town hope.
Town and the Greenhous Meadow crowd were now buoyed and there seemed to be some hope and the players were rising to the support. The ball was played into the Crawley box time after time and this was causing all sorts of problems, Parry went close, Hall went close, Foley had a chance and Grandison was taking the game to the visitors now.
Referee Tierney had a couple of decisions to make about possible penalties, one in the first half against Storey but in the second half Joseph Mills picked the ball and with nothing on went on a run, he breezed through a couple of played and drove into the box, two Crawley players seemed to come across and block Mills off to sending him flying but the ref was having none of it and waved away to appeals from the players and the whole of the Greenhous Meadow crowd.
With 21 minutes left Mike Jackson made his second switch and went like for like replacing Sam Foley with Nathaniel Mendez-Laing as they looked to keep the good attacking performance going. Then minutes later it was final switch with Miles Storey being replaced by Bahrudin Atajic.
It was still Town doing the pressing and pushing and creating the chances but they just couldn't get the get the luck in front of the goal. Paul Parry drove in a great shot from outside the box that beat Paul Jones in the Crawley net but the post was there to save the visitors, the ball came back out but it was just a little too quick for Atajic to pounce.
Atajic was showing what he could do and his calmness on the ball was refreshing to see and won him a number of free kicks in good areas.
With the 90 minutes fast approaching Town had a great chance with a free-kick getting floated in to a crowded box, the ball was headed out and put back in, Parry seemed to get the ball over the line but a Crawley foot hooked it away and the linesman wasn't giving anything.
At the other end Jamie Proctor found the space in the box to get a shot in but Joe Anyon was there with a superb save to deny the visitors.