Gavin Tomlin scored twice on his full debut for Crawley Town in a 3-3 draw away to Conference premier new boys Eastleigh.
Both goals were close-range finishes but the former Port Vale’s overall performance was the highlight of a tough workout for the Reds in sweltering conditions.
It was the home side who had the better of the early exchanges but Crawley took the lead on 11 minutes after good work initially down the right from Lanre Oyebanjo. Izale McLeod burst into the box and centred low for Gavin Tomlin to force the ball home from close range.
The equaliser came in the 26th minute when Ben Wright crossed from the left and Jai Reason finished well via the crossbar.
Crawley restored their advantage nine minutes before the break when goalkeeper Ross Flitney spilled Josh Simpson’s long-range shot and Lewis Young tucked home the loose ball.
Simpson then hit the near post from an acute angle with Flitney scrambling.
A third goal followed on 43 minutes with Simpson involved again, his shot being blocked on the line only for Tomlin to prod home his second of the afternoon.
Crawley started the second half as they finished the first and Jimmy Smith’s 20-yard shot was beaten away by Flitney into the path of Young who steered his effort well wide.
Somewhat against the run of play, Eastleigh got back in the game just part the hour-mark when Raphael Spiegel was beaten by Wright’s low shot from 25 yards.
Tomlin could have completed a hat-trick but headed wastefully wide when found unmarked by substitute Conor Henderson’s floated free-kick.
Crawley were made to pay when substitute Tony Lee clipped home an equaliser seven minutes from time.
One concern for Crawley was Sonny Bradley going off with a knock. Manager John Gregory already has Matt Harrold, Ryan Dickson and Bradley Isaacs nursing injuries.
Crawley Town: Spiegel; Oyebanjo, Leacock (sub Robson 64), Walsh (sub Essam 75), Bradley (sub Richefond 72); Young (sub Bawling 64), Simpson, Smith (sub Henderson 62), Edwards (sub O’Connor 51); McLeod, Tomlin.
Analysis, reaction and pictures in The Argus on Monday