Forte strikes to earn battling Reds a point

First published in Crawley Town by

Crawley maintained their record of having not lost consecutive league games this season as they drew 1-1 at Notts County.

County threatened to blow Reds away in the opening 30 minutes and coule easily have led 3-0 with more clinical finishing.

Neal Bishop gave the home side the lead after 12 minutes while Yoann Arquin twice missed the target with headers.

Reds clung on and grabbed an equaliser against the run of play on the stroke of half-time through Jonathan Forte - who started the game in place of skipper Gary Alexander.

Crawley were forced to defend for much of the second half but held on for a point thanks to more poor finishing and some good goalkeeping from Paul Jones.

County went close after ten minutes when Jamal Campbell-Ryce swung over a cross from the right which Yoann Arquin headed just over.

That proved a warning as the home side took the lead two minutes later. Campbell-Ryce was the creator again as he drove forward before lobbing a ball into the path of Bishop who beat the offside trap and slotted a shot through the legs of Paul Jones.

Campbell-Ryce was proving a real menace and stung the palms of Jones a minute later with Andrew Boucaud shooting wide from the edge of the area when the ball ran loose.

The winger set up another glorious opportunity for Arquin in the 19th minute but County's top scorer headed over from six yards when unmarked.

Reds were clinging on at this point but almost grabbed an equaliser completely against the run of play in the 24th minute. Billy Clarke weighted his pass perfectly to set Nicky Adams away and his fierce shot from 20 yards was turned away by Bartosz Bialkowski at full stretch.

The game was very open and Dean Leacock came within inches of doubling County's advantage on the half-hour with a shot that fizzed just wide of the far post.

Reds finished the half strongly with Clarke forcing Bialkowski into a sharp save with a header from an Adams free kick.

The equaliser arrived in the final minute with Adams skipping past the challenge of Arquin on the right and firing over a low cross which Forte tapped home from close range.

After a pulsating first half, the second half was tame in comparison. Reds reorganised at the break while County lost some of their attacking verve.

It took until the 76th minute for the home side to create another chance of note when substitute Lee Hughes headed wide from a cross by Jeff Hughes when he should at least hit the target.

Arquin spurned an even better opening a few minutes later when a shot from Lee Hughes deflected into his feet ten yards from goal but he hesitated and Paul Jones was able to make a fine save.

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