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Crawley ride their luck to escape with a point
Crawley rode their luck as they clung on for a point at struggling Shrewsbury Town at Greenhous Meadow.
Josh Simpson had given Reds the lead midway through the first half but the home side equalised through Paul Parry early in the second half.
The Shrews pushed what would have been their first home win since November but were twice denied by the woodwork, had a strong appeal for a penalty turned down and had an effort cleared off the line in the dying minutes.
Crawley were relieved to come away with a point but it was another disappointing display and surely ends any hopes they had of challenging for the play-offs.
Reds have now taken just two points from their last three games against teams who were below them in the table and are now 16th in League One – 15 points adrift of sixth place.
Shrewsbury went into the game without a home win since November and their frailties were exposed after just eight minutes when Billy Clarke failed to make the most of an excellent chance.
The striker’s run into the box was superbly found by Kyle McFadzean but after controlling the ball on his chest he could only lift his shot over the bar.
When Reds did take the lead in the 23rd minute they were grateful to a slice of luck. Clarke’s free kick went straight into the wall but the ball fell kindly to Simpson on the penalty spot and he fired a low shot past Joe Anyon.
Shrewsbury have struggled for goals all season but twice went close to an equaliser before half-time.
They were denied an instant reply when Paul Jones beat away Sam Foley’s powerful effort and then the woodwork came to Crawley’s rescue as Miles Storey’s shot came back off a post.
Shrews boss Michael Jackson replaced Jon Taylor with Jermaine Grandison at half-time and the home side made a lively start after the interval.
Asa Hall sliced a sot badly wide from a good position but the pressure told as the equaliser arrived in the 56th minute. A deep cross found its way to Parry at the far post and he cut back on his right foot before curling a shot past the reach of Paul Jones.
Shrewsbury had a big appeal for a penalty turned down soon after when Joseph Mills tumbled in the area under a challenge from McFadzean.
Parry went within a whisker of scoring his second of the game with seven minutes to go as his low drive from 25 yards thumped against the upright with Paul Jones well beaten.
Shrewsbury thought they had the winner they deserved when Connor Goldson headed a free kick towards goal in the final minute. Hall tried to bundle the ball over the line but somehow McFadzean hacked it clear with home fans appealing for a goal.
Reds went straight up the other end and almost won it themselves as substitute Jamie Proctor beat three men but then saw his shot turned over the bar by Anyon.
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