By Ben Blackmore
Crawley suffered another frustrating afternoon at the Broadfield after they were held by a resilient Notts County side to a goalless draw.
Reds had chances to wrap up the points. Jamie Proctor’s curling effort in the first half was superbly saved before his cross in the second 45 was turned onto the crossbar by defender Gary Liddle as Mike Jones waited to pounce.
Lateef Elford-Alliyu also had a good chance with 10 minutes left but his effort sailed over the bar and the Reds had to settle for a point.
Richie Barker named an unchanged side from Tuesday’s draw with Carlisle whilst his opposite number Chris Kiwomya made four changes from County’s game with Leyton Orient on Wednesday.
Reds started the brighter of the two sides. Proctor was denied an opener by a superb save from visiting keeper Bartosz Bialkowski, who palmed away the striker’s shot
that was destined for the top corner in the 12th minute.
The hosts kept up good pressure on County and Jake Taylor looked to get forward as much as possible and was nearly rewarded for his attacking intent. He advanced into a shooting position but his effort from 25 yards out was straight at Bialkowski.
The midfielder also had the next chance when he met a cross from Muzzy Dumbuya on the right but his header lacked power and was comfortably saved.
Notts County also had a couple of efforts themselves. Jeff Hughes tested Paul Jones from 25 yards that he palmed away for a corner before Alan Sheehan’s 20 yard free-kick also deflected away for a corner.
Perhaps the best chance of the first half fell to Matt Sparrow, who delicately took down a pass from Taylor and advanced into the area but was superbly denied by Bialkowski who blocked the effort from six yards out.
Hoping for more luck in the second half, Barker’s side dominated the early stages of the second 45 minutes.
Nicky Adams once again twisted and turned but his shot was straight at Bialkowski. Dumbuya looked a threat down the right hand side and fizzed a ball into the back post that was superbly turned away for a corner by Liddle with Mike Jones lurking.
Showing promise and getting ever closer, Reds were just a whisker away from opening the scoring in the 70th minute.
Proctor played a give and go with sub Aiden O’Brien and after receiving the ball again fired a cross into the box that Haydn Hollis sliced off the underside of the crossbar.
Barker introduced Elford-Alliyu into the action and it nearly payed off straight away.
Proctor battled well before laying the ball off for the sub at the edge of the area but his first shot of the match went sailing over the Bruce Winfield stand.
Desperate for a late goal, Reds tested Bialkowski with a host of late corners and there were appeals for a penalty in stoppage time when Mat Sadler's cross hit an arm but the referee waved play on.
A 0-0 draw - the first time Reds fans have seen a goalless draw at the Broadfield since March 2009.