Crawley 1; Aldershot 1.
New loan signing Mustapha Carayol made a "fairytale" start to his time at Crawley and has been tipped to become a big hit at Broadfield Stadium.
Carayol scored within half an hour of his debut to put Reds ahead in an FA Cup fourth qualifying round clash against Conference premier high-flyers Aldershot.
The Gambia-born 19-year-old could not have dreamed of making a better impact after joining on the eve of the game on a month's loan from MK Dons.
It was not just his goal which made him stand out. The pacy wideman terrorised the Shots defence throughout the first half and delivered several dangerous crosses, before tiring after the
Reds sealed Carayol's move after playing Paul Ince's Dons in a training match last week, the second time they have faced the League Two leaders in a friendly this season.
Assistant boss Paul Raynor said: "It was a big game for him and he showed his positive qualities. If he shows that week-in, week-out when he gets fitter, he will be a real handful for us.
"It was a fairytale start for him, he scored with pretty much his first touch, and he showed he is an exciting player.
"He gives us another option going forward to add to some good options we have already got.
"When Paul Ince gave us the opportunity to bring Mustapha in, we snapped his hands off because we have been asking him since we played against him earlier in the season.
"The time is right now for him to come in and he will be a valuable addition for us."
Ince spotted Carayol playing for Swindon reserves during his time at the League One club as a coach.
The former England midfielder took the tricky winger with him when he became boss at Macclesfield and again when he took over at Dons.
Carayol showed why he is rated so highly by Ince on the half-hour when he controlled the ball neatly, side-stepped a defender and curled a low effort into the bottom corner.
Reds are hoping he will produce another moment of magic in the replay tomorrow night, a game which could have been avoided had they not been sloppy at both ends of the pitch.
Striker Pierre Joseph-Dubois was handed a rare start in place of Jon-Paul Pittman and was impressive throughout.
But he was guilty of squandering a golden chance which would have surely put the game beyond Shots just before the break.
He beat the offside trap to latch onto a ball over the top and saw his shot blocked by the outstretched hand of keeper Nikki Bull.
Crawley were kicking themselves against ten minutes into the second half when they conceded a poor equaliser.
They lost possession in their own half and then failed to pick up Jonny Dixon, allowing the lively frontman to race clear and slot under the onrushing Ashley Bayes.
Scoring in front of the Reds fans would have been extra sweet for Dixon after he failed to produce his best during an uninspiring loan spell at the Broadfield from Wycombe four seasons ago.
Raynor said: "We have got young players at the back and we lacked concentration in the middle of our defence. When you play against the better teams you get punished for it.
"Maybe when you face a team lower down the table, they don't but we were playing a side high on confidence and they take those chances.
"We had lots of good things going forward, it was just a pity we could not hold on and nick a 1-0. It was not to be but we remain positive."
Bayes, Bull (Blackburn 46), Stevens, Wilson, Watson, Carayol (Vieira 85), Bulman, Thompson, Cook, Madjo, Joseph-Dubois (Pittman 83).
Subs not used: Krause, Clapham.
Aldershot: Bull, Straker, Newman, Day, Soares (Hudson 73), Chalmers, Davies (Grant 85), Harding, Gier, Elvins (Hylton 56), Dixon.
Subs not used: Charles, Jaimez-Ruiz.
Booked: Newman (90) foul.
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