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Crawley frustrated at home once again
Crawley's play-off hopes suffered a setback as they were held to a 1-1 draw at home by struggling Carlisle United.
Carlisle took the lead midway through the first half when Jon-Paul McGovern beat Paul Jones with a 40-yard free kick.
Reds equalised 11 minutes into the second half through Mat Sadler but could not find a winner to stretch their poor record at Broadfield Stadium to just one win in their last eight outings.
The result means Crawley are now ten points behind sixth placed Tranmere in League One with two games in hand.
Crawley kept the same team which won 2-0 at Bury on Saturday, despite the availability of Mark Connolly after suspension, and quickly took up where they left off at Gigg Lane.
Reds poured forward at every opportunity with Mike Jones fizzing a low shot just wide from 20 yards and Matt Sparrow narrowly missing the target with a 25-yard effort.
Carlisle were happy to defend deep and soak up the pressure but the momentum of the game suddenly changed after 20 minutes when the visitors took control.
Sean O’Hanlon twice put free headers wide from McGovern corners when he should have scored before United took the lead in the 23rd minute.
McGovern caught everybody by surprise, in particular goalkeeper Paul Jones, when he arrowed a 40-yard free kick over the stranded Reds No.1 and in off the underside of the bar.
McGovern had a chance to repeat the feat seven minutes later but this time curled a free kick from 25 yards just over the bar.
Crawley were stunned by the turnaround but did at least manage to push for an equaliser before half-time.
Nicky Adams called Mark Gillespie into serious action for the first time to push a 20 yard free kick around the post while Crawley had a penalty appeal turned down when Mat Sadler’s cross appeared to hit the arm of O’Hanlon.
Adams tested Gillespie again on the stroke of half-time with a superb volley from a Mike Jones nod down with the Carlisle keeper touching it around the post.
Reds started the second half in the same manner they began the first but this time got the goal their play deserved after 56 minutes.
Sadler charged down the left on to Mike Jones’ clever flick before cutting in to shoot emphatically into the top corner with the outside of his left foot.
Proctor had a good chance to put Crawley ahead when he was picked out superbly by a cross from Adams but put his header over the bar.
At the other end Jones had to get across his line well to keep out a well-hit 30 yard free kick from substitute David Symington.