By Ben Blackmore
Crawley ended a fantastic season in 10th place in League One with a draw against a spirited Hartlepool side in the final game of the campaign.
Jamie Proctor fired Reds ahead on 70 minutes after good play by skipper Josh Simpson before Andy Monkhouse levelled for the visitors six minutes later. Monkhouse then put Hartlepool in front on 80 minutes but Proctor had the last say when his deflected effort was enough to earn Reds a point.
Richie Barker made one change from the team that beat Preston, Proctor coming in for Paul Hayes who dropped to the bench.
The season finale got off to a slow start and it wasn’t until the 17th minute when Monkhouse had the first effort of the match but his shot flew over the crossbar.
Both sides struggled to find any rhythm in the first 45 minutes but Reds nearly opened the scoring in the 33rd minute.
Mike Jones put a low cross into the box following a well-worked corner but Proctor’s shot was blocked on the line by a defender.
Just two minutes later Reds were unlucky not to go ahead. Jones picked the ball up from 25 yards out and his dipping effort hit the base of the post.
But most of the entertainment was provided by the Pools’ fans dressed as penguins partying in the away end.
Into the second 45 and it was the visitors who started the brighter of the two sides.
Monkhouse fired a shot that was tipped over by Jones before the midfielder had another effort from 25 yards out which dipped over the bar.
Reds responded positively and the game sprung to life on the 70th minute when Proctor fired Crawley ahead after a fine flowing move.
Billy Clarke played a well-weighted ball for Simpson in the box whose cross left Proctor a tap in at the back post.
The hosts grew in confidence following the goal and should have doubled their lead just four minutes later.
Clarke once again found space on the right hand side and his cross into the box picked up Hayes who teed up Jones from 12 yards out but his effort went agonisingly wide of the goal.
Against the run of play Hartlepool levelled the scores just a minute later. Luke James found himself in acres of space on the left hand side and his cross into the box was headed home by Monkhouse to make it 1-1.
The visitors turned the game on its head in the 80th minute when Monkhouse took the ball down from a long pass and gave Hartlepool the lead with a lob over Jones.
Reds nearly levelled two minutes later when Jones hit the post from 25 yards out but it was Proctor who got his second of the game in the 89th minute.
The striker had space on the edge of the area and he fired a shot that deflected past Flinders to earn his side a point.