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Crawley fight back to earn point in thriller
Crawley had to settle for a third consecutive draw after coming back from 2-0 down in a pulsating game at Yeovil Town.
Byron Webster and the prolific Paddy Madden put the in-form Glovers in charge with goals inside the opening 18 minutes.
Crawley were unable to capitalise on a host of good opportunities in the first half but fought back after the break through Joe Walsh and Matt Sparrow.
Both sides hit the woodwork in the closing stages as they pushed for a winner while Crawley had a big penalty appeal turned down in injury time.
The result extends Crawley's unbeaten run to four games but they will consider themselves very unfortunate not to have taken all three points.
Yeovil went into the game on the back of seven consecutive home wins and their confidence was clear to see as they raced into a 2-0 lead inside 18 minutes.
Crawley’s defence, which had kept clean sheets in the last two away games, was breached after just four minutes. Reds only half cleared a corner and Ben Gordon whipped the ball back into the box invitingly for Webster to power home a diving header from six yards.
The visitors had just regained their composure after that early setback when the home side doubled their advantage in the 18th minute.
Luke Ayling burst clear down the right and his low cross was bundled home by Madden, with Paul Jones possibly wrong-footed by a deflection.
Crawley will wonder how they did not pull at least one goal back before the break.
The fit again Billy Clarke curled a 20-yard free kick onto the underside of the bar with the ball hitting goalkeeper Marek Stech and bouncing to safety. Clarke claimed the ball had crossed the line but referee James Adcock disagreed.
Paul Hayes then wasted a glorious opportunity to halve the deficit and mark his debut with a goal. Jamie Proctor cleverly played in Mat Sadler down the left and his low cross just needed to be tapped home by Hayes from five yards but his shot went over.
Hayes almost redeemed himself with a low shot which was turned away at full stretch by Stech while at the other end Ed Upson curled a free kick just wide.
The goal Crawley deserved came within a minute of the restart. Sadler drifted over a free kick which Hayes headed back across goal for Walsh to nod home from a yard.
Reds should have been level six minutes later when Sadler burst through the middle after exchanging passes with Hayes but put his shot too close to Stech who made the save.
Sadler and Hayes combined again soon after with the on-loan Brentford striker going clear to round Stech only for his shot to be cleared off the line by Webster.
The equaliser Crawley’s pressure warranted arrived in the 62nd minute and came moments after they almost fell 3-1 behind.
James Hayter hit the post with a header with the rebound scrambled away by Jones before Madden could pounce. Reds broke at lightning speed with Sparrow racing through to fire a low shot past Stech from 14 yards and inside the far post.
The frantic nature of the game continued with both sides pressing for a winner. Joseph Edwards thought he had grabbed one with nine minutes to go but his volley came back off a post and straight into the grateful arms of Paul Jones.
Connor Essam then forced Stech into a save from point blank range from a Nicky Adams corner with Sparrow putting a follow-up shot wide.