Edwards and McLeod on target as Reds come from 2-0 down to gain point
Reds came from 2-0 down to share the spoils with Coventry City at the Ricoh Arena in a lively SkyBet League One tussle.
The Sky Blues dominated the opening exchanges and seemed to be in control thanks to goals from Josh McQuoid and Simeon Jackson with 27 minutes played.
But Gwion Edwards made it 2-1 with a brilliant curling effort and before the break Izale McLeod had scored his fifth goal of the season from close range to make it 2-2. For the first time this season Reds had come from behind and scored two goals away from home.
The second period, in all honesty, was pretty dull with neither goalkeeper making a serious save but the 242 Crawley fans in a crowd of 7,708 went home happy enough.
John Gregory made one change to the team that beat Yeovil 2-0. Josh Simpson hurt his hamstring in training and was replaced in midfield by Bobson Bawling.
You could have got very short odds pre-match on a low-scoring game before kick-off but it proved to be anything but.
Coventry, beaten in their previous three games, started like a train and nearly went in front in the second minute when John Fleck ended an unchallenged run with a shot that struck the right-hand post with Jamie Ashdown beaten.
The Sky Blues’ thinking was clearly to apply early pressure. Ashdown pushed away Andy Webster’s header from a corner four minutes later and Reds appeared to have ridden the storm when Coventry took a 14th minute lead. Ashdown failed to hold Fleck’s free-kick from 25 yards and McQUOID pounced from close range for a simple finish.
McQuoid then headed Jim O’Brien’s cross over when he should have got his effort on target but the Sky Blues continued to dominate and doubled their lead on 26 minutes. McQuoid slipped a pass inside the defence and as Crawley appealed for offside JACKSON drilled a low shot past Ashdown from the right-hand corner of the six-yard box.
At that stage it looked like being a long afternoon for a Crawley side who hadn’t come from behind in any of their previous games this season.
But they were thrown a lifeline when EDWARDS opened his account for the season with a stunning finish on 33 minutes when he ran at the home defence before curling a right-foot shot past Ryan Allsop and inside the far post.
Incredibly, Reds were level four minutes later after some shoddy defending in the home defence allowed McLEOD to fire his shot past Allsop from eight yards after Edwards’ pass had not been dealt with.
Yet it still needed an important block by Lanre Oyebanjo to prevent Jackson from restoring the hosts’ lead after Dean Leacock had slipped on the edge of the box.
Not surprisingly, both sides were a lot more cagey after the break. Jackson, twice, and then McQuoid tried their luck from outside the box without testing Ashdown and Reds made their first change on the hour when Lewis Young came on for Bawling to play on the right-hand side of midfield.
As the half wore on Coventry began to exert more pressure with raids on the home goal few and far between. Sub Mohamed Coulibaly set up McQuoid on the edge of the box for a shot which he sliced wide but in fairness Reds defended with much more composure in the second half.
McLeod was booked moments before he was replaced by Matt Harrold with five minutes to go and Keane followed him in stoppage time for a foul but the visitors defended doggedly during some late Sky Blues’ pressure to pick up a very useful point.