Crawley boy Shamir Fenelon came off the bench to score a priceless first goal for the club as Reds came from behind to hold promotion-chasing Plymouth.
Fenelon struck from close range in the 83rd minute to cancel out Ryan Brunt’s 57th-minute opener for the visitors.
Although Argyle had plenty of possession they hadn’t created a great deal before Brunt finished off a good move by heading them in front.
But it looked as if the points were heading back down to Devon when Fenelon struck after Josh Yorwerth had headed down Roarie Deacon’s free kick from the left.
It was only Crawley’s second draw since the end of August.
The other pluses for manager Mark Yates were solid debuts for his two new players, Tom Dallison and Andy Bond, and once again there was no lack of effort from the team.
Reds made three changes to the side beaten by Accrington a week ago. Lee Barnard replaced Harrold in attack while there were debutants for Bond and Dallison, who replaced the suspended Simon Walton and Jon Ashton respectively. Ashton was one of only five Reds’ subs while Plymouth were unchanged, with ex-Crawley captain Josh Simpson on the bench for the visitors.
Argyle, backed by 1,503 fans, made the better start with Paul Jones pushing a 25-yard drive from Gregg Wylde out for a fourth-minute corner.
Wylde saw a lot of the ball in the early stages as he tested Bobson Bawling down Plymouth’s left. After Bawling failed to make a routine headed clearance Wylde let fly again but Dallison got in the way to deflect his shot over the bar.
Peter Hartley’s effort landed on the roof of the net with the midfielder at full stretch before Reds began to get a grip on proceedings without creating anything clear-cut in the opening half hour.
Defensively, though, they were doing a solid enough job, funnelling men back and happy to let Argyle have the ball – as long as it was in front of them.
That man Wylde had another dig, this time from 30 yards, and then Greg Tanner let fly but on both occasions Jones got his angles right and made the saves.
At times Reds put together some decent moves but the final ball was lacking in the first half. Gwion Edwards’ pace in behind was an outlet but it wasn’t until the 44th minute that they had their first shot at goal, when Roarie Deacon cut inside from the left but his shot from 25 yards was always clearing Luke McCormack’s bar.
The half ended as it had started with Wylde having another dig, this time from just inside the box which Jones got down to push away.
Argyle brought on top scorer Reuben Reid at the break and, kicking towards their fans, they were keen to start the second period on the front foot.
And they were ahead in the 56th minute with Wylde, to no one’s great surprise, involved. He was in space on the left to collect a pass from Oscar Threlfeld and his delivery was perfect for BRUNT to head powerfully past Jones from close range.
Reds responded with their first shot on target on the hour, a free kick from 25 yards by Edwards that Luke McCormack grabbed at the second attempt.
Midway through the half Mark Yates threw on another striker, Fenelon, in place of Chris Atkinson, and switched from 3-5-2 to 4-4-2 with Fenelon and Edwards asked to try and stretch the visitors’ defence with their pace.
With 20 minutes to go Crawley were still in the game and from a corner they appealed for handball against Curtis Nelson in the box but referee Bankes waved play on. Tomlin then took the ball down well on his chest inside the box from Dallison’s weighted pass but he fired well wide off balance.
Jones produced a fingertip save to turn Graham Carey’s free kick from 22 yards over the bar before Reds levelled with seven minutes to go. Roarie Deacon whipped a free kick from the touchline to the far post and Josh Yorwerth won his header and the ball was turned in by FENELON – his first goal for the club.
Reds saw out the rest of the game comfortably enough and would have been delighted with their efforts.
Andy Bond in action on his Reds' debut