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Crawley face replay after goalless draw
Crawley Town will be in the hat for the FA Cup third round for the fourth year running tomorrow after John Gregory’s reign as boss began with a goalless draw at Bristol Rovers.
Reds will try again against the League Two outfit in a replay at the Checkatrade.com Stadium a week on Tuesday as they were unable to score for the fourth game running.
Gary Alexander and Mark Connolly went closest to ending a drought which has lasted for more than six hours now when they forced Steve Mildenhall into first half saves.
But Crawley were also grateful to a fingertip stop from Paul Jones right near the end to deny Oliver Norburn who also crashed an effort against the bar in the second half.
Gregory was forced into a last-minute change for his first team selection after skipper Josh Simpson picked up an injury in the warm-up.
Andy Drury came in as a late replacement in the centre of midfield while up front Gary Alexander replaced Jamie Proctor in the only other change from the side which lost 1-0 at Crewe the previous weekend.
Both sides have struggled for goals this season so it was no surprise that chances were at a premium in the first half.
Crawley created the better of them with Steve Mildenhall getting down well to keep out a Gary Alexander header from a cross by Nicky Adams and then blocking a powerful effort from Mark Connolly when a corner reached him at the back post.
At the other end Paul Jones was relatively untroubled apart from a long range effort from Oliver Norburn which he gathered at the second attempt.
The home side began the second half much more brightly and Jones had to get down well to keep out an effort from Michael Smith.
Jones could do nothing when Norburn unleashed a thunderous shot from 20 yards in the 60th minute but the ball came back off the underside of the bar.
Suddenly the game sparked into life and Reds went down the other end with Mildenhall parrying an effort from Dannie Bulman and then Alexander putting the rebound over the bar.
Rovers continued to look the more likely to grab a decisive goal and Norburn thought he had when he fired in a brilliant shot from 30 yards which was heading for the top corner until Paul Jones managed to get his fingertips to it and turn the ball behind for a corner.
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