Reds held by ten-man Stevenage
Reds’ hopes of pushing into play-off contention suffered a Good Friday setback after they were held by ten-man Stevenage.
The visitors had defender Miguel Comminges sent off for two yellow-card fouls inside 26 minutes but shaded the first half and went in front on 40 minutes when caretaker manager Mark Roberts headed in.
The second-half was much better from a Crawley perspective and Matt Sparrow stroked home the equaliser on 55 minutes.
But despite mounting pressure Crawley could not find a winner and had to settle for their fifth draw in six outings.
The visitors went into the game having lost their last seven away from home and it was Reds who made the better start with Steve Arnold tipping over a shot from Jamie Proctor in the third minute after a neat turn by the home striker. It was the first of several good saves by the Stevenage stopper.
But Stevenage settled and Paul Jones made a terrific save to deny Luke Freeman on 12 minutes after Joe Walsh’s clearance hit Mark Connolly and rebounded into his path.
Reds had a let-off on 25 minutes when Marcus Haber side-footed wide from two yards after Jones had pushed out Robin Shroot’s shot but that was Shroot’s last involvement. Comminge, already booked, hacked down Josh Simpson on halfway and referee Brendan Malone pointed him in the direction of the changing rooms. Shroot was sacrificed in favour of a defender.
Stevenage didn’t seem unduly perturbed and although Arnold denied Proctor again, this time after good work by Paul Hayes, they continued to look lively and went ahead five minutes before the break. Freeman’s inswinging free kick from the left seemed to get flicked on twice and Roberts had a simple header at the far post to make it 0-1.
Simpson should have equalised moments later when Mike Jones played him in but he failed to keep his shot from 12 yards on target.
Reds, not unexpectedly, stepped their game up after the break and levelled on 55 minutes. Hayes did well down the left to spot a late run by Sparrow and the midfielder took a touch before steering the ball into the bottom corner.
Jones then dragged a shot wide before substitute Billy Clarke had a great chance but his shot was pushed out by Arnold as Stevenage began to wobble.
However they still offered a threat on the break. Max Ehmer’s curler wasn’t far away and with four minutes of normal time left Filpe Moraise nearly found the bottom corner but Jones got across to push the ball away for a corner.
There was still time for Arnold to make another great save when he pushed out Hayes’ volley but Reds had to settle for a point.