Late goals send Crawley Town back into the relegation zone
It’s all to play for on the final day of the season after Reds dropped into the bottom four after a dramatic defeat at Peterborough.
With four minutes of normal time remaining Crawley led 3-2 thanks to goals from Marvin Elliott, Mathias Pogba and Josh Simpson.
But Posh struck twice in the closing stages and results elsewhere meant Reds dropped down to 21st place with one game left at home to Coventry City next Sunday.
Interim manager Dean Saunders made one change to the side which beat Notts County last Saturday. With Anthony Wordsworth back at Ipswich following the end of his loan spell, fit-again Marvin Elliott came into midfield. Ryan Dickson (groin) also missed out with Bobson Bawling replacing him on the bench.
The game started at a lively pace with Lee Fowler, for Reds, and Marcus Maddison and Michael Bostwick all having shots at goal in the first four minutes, all of which were dealt with comfortably by Ben Alnwick and his opposite number Brian Jensen.
Mathias Pogba had a decent chance to break his goalscoring duck for Reds on eight minutes. Patient build-up ended with Gavin Tomlin finding Pogba with a cross from the left but the striker directed his header wide of the left-hand post.
Both Pogba and Elliott had efforts at goal which failed to trouble Alnwick as Reds looked to break while trying to keep a solid shape when they didn’t have the ball.
Reds took the lead on 29 minutes with a well-worked goal. Josh Simpson started the move with a pass to Tomlin. His deep cross from the right was knocked back by Izale McLeod and ELLIOTT was on hand to smash the ball into the roof of the next from six yards.
Posh tried to respond and Jensen had trouble dealing with a long-range effort by Harry Anderson which he pushed out before Lewis Young completed the clearance.
Another excellent move nearly brought Reds a second goal on 41 minutes when Tomlin’s cross narrowly eluded Pogba and McLeod. Instead it was the hosts who drew level on 43 minutes.
Former Crawley loanee Bostwick fired a free kick from 30 yards against the left-hand post and WASHINGTON was first to react to prod in the loose ball.
Alnwick made the first save of the second half when he got down to smother Pogba’s effort after he’d done well to lift Youga’s pass over his marker but it was Peterborough who struck again on 51 minutes when BOSTWICK was allowed space 25 yards out and his low right-foot drive flew into the bottom corner, giving Jensen no chance.
But Reds drew level six minutes later when POGBA broke his duck for the club. McLeod was the provider with a pass from the right-hand side of the box and Pogba cushioned his volley into the top right-hand corner from close range.
The visitors now had the momentum and the 331 Reds’ fans were celebrating again on 64 minutes. McLeod did well to find space on the left and his pull-back found SIMPSON. The midfielder had a yard of space to fire a low shot into the far corner against his former club.
Simpson was replaced by Lanre Oyebanjo in the 70th minute as Reds looked to keep what they had.
With ten minutes to go Jimmy Smith replaced McLeod and Reds looked to be coping well with the home side’s search for a goal until the roof fell in with four minutes to go.
BOSTWICK made it 3-3 on 87 minutes with a volley from just inside the box as he was allowed space to find the bottom corner via the inside of the post.
If that wasn’t bad enough, Peterborough struck again in the last minute of normal time. Maddison’s cross from the right was headed against the post by substitute Jonathan Edwards and the loose ball was rammed into the net by WASHINGTON from six yards.
Disbelieving Reds and the 331 travelling fans could scarcely believe the turn-around. It means next Sunday's finale against the Sky Blues is now a must win.