Midfielder Andy Drury scored his first goal of the season as Reds were held to a 1-1 draw by an impressive Shrewsbury side at The Checkatrade.com Stadium in Saturday’s Sky Bet League One action.
Shrews’ Chris Weale was the busier of the keepers and produced a penalty save just before the break to deny Billy Clarke.
Aaron Wildig’s smart finish on 47 minutes gave Shrewsbury the lead but Drury’s diving header ensured parity and Weale made some great saves late on to earn his side a point.
Boss Richie Barker made one change to the side that had beaten Gillingham with Jamie Proctor replacing Gary Alexander, who was starting a three-match ban.
Shrewsbury had the first opening on six minutes when Jon Taylor, who scored when the sides shared four goals last season, unleashed a powerful drive which Paul Jones parried into the path of Tom Bradshaw, whose shot went wide of the post.
The visitors certainly looked lively in the opening exchanges with Darren Jones heading their first corner wide as Reds struggled initially to get their passing game together as Shrews harried them at every turn.
But the hosts nearly went in front on 16 minutes. Nicky Adams’ cross picked out Jamie Proctor whose cushioned header fell for Clarke. He got off a goalbound which Jones blocked without knowing too much about it.
Drury then worked some space but his curling shot was held by Weale as Reds began to get on top then Adams cut in from the right and hit a fizzing low drive across Weale but just a yard wide of the far post.
At the other end Luke Summerfield fired a drive from 25 yards just wide of the left-hand post then Jones got down to his left to parry a drive from Paul Parry.
Reds then missed the chance to go in front on 42 minutes when they were awarded a penalty after Jones brought down Adams in the corner of the box.
Clarke stepped up, but Weale guessed correctly and produced a superb one-handed save to push the spot kick onto the post and away from danger.
Just before the break Shrewsbury again threatened when Curtis Main worked some space on the left-hand side of the box but Jones saved his angled drive at the second attempt to end an entertaining first half.
Reds had conceded in the first minute of the second period against Gillingham and it happened again. Ryan Woods produced a great delivery from the right-hand side and WILDIG finished with aplomb just inside the right-hand post.
It was a blow for Reds but in fairness the hosts had looked lively up front and the home side took a while to get their game going but on 58 minutes Weale was again at his best, diving at full stretch to his right to push out a 25-yarder from Clarke. Weale then got down smartly to hold onto Adams’ drive as Crawley began to pick up the pace in search of an equaliser before
Drury made space on the edge of the box only to send his shot disappointingly over.
But moments later DRURY was celebrating his first goal since returning to the club. Adams’ cross from the right was flicked on by Proctor and Drury dived in at the far post to head back across goal and into the far corner.
However the visitors were still a threat. Woods produced another great delivery on 68 minutes onto the head of Main but he was always stretching to get it on target and the ball flew over the top. Main then unleashed a terrific shot at the end of a counter-attack which Jones was relieved to see go inches wide.
Emile Sinclair replaced Proctor with 20 minutes to go as Reds looked for the winner and with seven minutes to play he produced a pin-point pass for Adams but instead of picking out two unmarked team-mates in the box he went for a shot which flew wide of the far post.
In stoppage time appeals for a penalty by Reds when Sinclair appeared to be pulled down by Connor Goldson were turned down and Reds had to settle for point which stretches their unbeaten run to three games.