Reds stretched their unbeaten run in EFL Two to three games with a 1-1 draw against Colchester United at the Checkatrade Stadium.
A first half goal from Adi Yussuf – his second in as many games - was cancelled out by a late strike from substitute Chris Porter as the spoils were shared in RH11. It came in the 87th minute after a sustained spell of Colchester pressure and gave them a point their efforts deserved.
Dermot Drummy made one change to the side that beat Morecambe 3-2 in dramatic fashion at the Globe Arena on Saturday.
Saturday’s second-half substitute and goalscorer Yussuf came in for wide-man Jason Banton who dropped to the bench after hurting his hamstring at Morecambe.
It meant the back five was the same as the previous two league matches with Glenn Morris inbetween the stick and birthday boy Lewis Young, Mark Connolly, Joe McNerney and Andre Blackman ahead of him.
Jimmy Smith continued alongside Kaby Djalo ahead of the back four – Enzio Boldewijn, Billy Clifford and Yussuf were deployed in front of them, with five-goal top scorer James Collins in attack.
Yussuf was the hero in Saturday’s win – and he looked the liveliest in the early stages, his strong run got Reds on the attack before the visitors got bodies back to clear the danger after four minutes.
Colchester’s first chance came through Tariq Fosu – but his deflected effort was well held by Morris in the home goal.
Seventeen minutes in and the home side were ahead – as Yussuf got his second goal in as many games. It was a wonderful move, started by Kaby Djalo spraying the ball out to the far side to find Lewis Young.
The defender cut the ball inside to Collins, who in turn dinked it over the top to find the on-rushing Yussuf. The striker deftly flicked the ball past Sam Walker to score his second in as many games and put his side in front.
Adi Yussuf celebrates his second goal in as many games
The away side rallied, with Fosu continuing to look dangerous. He got into the area soon after but was booked for diving after he went to ground too easily for the referee’s liking.
There were no changes at the break – but five minutes into the second half Crawley did make a substitution when Billy Clifford was replaced by Alex Davey because of a tight hamstring.
It was a change that saw Davey deployed alongside Smith in a defensive midfield role, allowing Djalo to push forward behind Collins.
Young drove forward in the Reds’ first attack of the second period and it resulted in the ball falling to Enzio Boldewijn, who fired over from distance.
Collins went close moments later when Djalo’s superb first time pass gave him space on the edge of the area, but the visiting defence cleared their lines.
Goalscorer Yussuf then made way for Banton as the game reached the hour mark with the Reds still holding a goal advantage.
The counter-attack looked to be the way for the Reds to hurt their opponents – Boldewijn got the side doing just that again soon after when he set Smith free on the right-hand side but the captain's cross was blocked and cleared.
The visitors made a double change with 20 minutes left of the game. Dion Sembie-Ferris and Porter replaced Tariq Fosu and Denny Johnstone.
The visitors began to press and Morris did superbly to keep the home side’s advantage intact with 20 minutes left. Sammie Szmodics’ effort at the far post was somehow kept out by the home keeper on the line.
Connolly then produced a brace clearance as he threw himself in the way of Porter’s effort after Sembie-Ferris had got to the byline and cut the ball back as the two substitutes combined.
Boldewijn then made way for Bobson Bawling in the Reds’ final change with 15 minutes left.
Reds had a succession of corners as the game entered the final ten minutes – all of which were dealt with by the U’s before Djalo’s late tackle on Sembie-Ferris saw him pick up a yellow card.
The visitors’ pressure was rewarded three minutes from the end of normal time. Porter turned sharply on the edge of the area and fired a fierce effort into the roof of the net to draw the U’s level.
Next up for Drummy’s men is another home game against Blackpool on Saturday.
Reds scorer: Adi Yussuf.
Man of the Match: (sponsored by One Resourcing) – Kaby Djalo.
Attendance: 1,851 (230 away fans).