It was the Yeovil fans singing the theme to ‘The Great Escape’ at the end of a lively encounter after two second-half goals sunk Reds at Huish Park.
Izale McLeod headed home his 12th goal of the season to give Crawley as 28th minute lead and the visitors defended doggedly until Chigozie Ugwu headed a 68th minute equaliser. Four minutes later Ajay Leitch-Smith, a thorn in Crawley’s side in the past for former club Crewe, stabbed home what proved to be the winner for a team who went into the game with just six goals at home all season but who seemed galvanised by the presence of Terry Skiverton in their dugout following the midweek departure of Gary Johnson.
It was a frustrating afternoon for Reds. Straight after the break Gwion Edwards missed a great chance to double the lead and both Yeovil goals were soft ones to concede from a defensive point of view. More than 200 fans gave the visitors great support but it was another fruitless afternoon on their travels for Reds, who now face two successive home games against Doncaster on Tuesday and Barnsley next Saturday, which will be crucial in the battle to stay up.
Dean Saunders made one change to the side which had beaten Preston with Mathias Pogba coming in for his debut after his international clearance arrived on Saturday morning. Lewis Young dropped to the bench as a result.
Yeovil made the better start and Reds had plenty of defending to do in the early stages. Joe Walsh did just enough to put Ugwu off when he got through and his shot was easily saved by Lewis Price. Ryan Dickson then defended well at the far post when James Hayter tried to pick out Leitch-Smith.
Reds changed to a 4-1-4-1 formation with Elliott sitting in front of the back four and the visitors gradually began to get a foothold in the contest. On 21 minutes McLeod latched onto Lanre Oyebanjo’s pass down the Reds’ right but his effort went wide of the near post. Seconds later Jimmy Smith’s goalbound side-footer from just inside the box was blocked by a defender.
Darren Ward produced a brilliant tackle to deny Hayter when it looked as if the Yeovil striker had got through and Reds broke quickly. Ryan Dickson put Edwards away down the left and his pass to McLeod was skied over the bar by the striker.
Two minutes later, though, McLEOD did find the target, getting in front of his marker to meet Jimmy Smith’s diagonal ball from the right with a powerful header, which flew into the top corner.
Yeovil responded positively to the setback. Dickson headed Keiffer Moore’s cross off the line and when the ball found Ben Nugent 12 yards out he volleyed into the side netting.
But Crawley had certainly been lifted by the goal and Elliott wasted a good chance two minutes before the break when he met Dickson’s cross with a firm header but directed it straight at Krysiak.
Reds had a great chance two minutes into the second half. Smith’s pass found Edwards in space down the right and he raced into the box only to fire tamely at Krysiak from 10 yards.
Price had to have his wits about him on 56 minutes when Ugwu flicked on a corner to Arthurworrey who stabbed the ball goalwards but straight into the arms of the Crawley keeper.
Saunders made a change with Bawling coming on for Edwards and Fowler replaced Smith shortly afterwards.
But it was Yeovil who were in the ascendancy at this stage and they drew level on 68 minutes. UGWU had just seen a goalbound shot deflected for a corner when he rose to meet Sam Foley’s free kick from the left after Lanre Oyebanjo was harshly penalised for blocking off his opponent.
It got worse for the visitors four minutes later when LEITCH-SMITH scrambled the ball home from close range after Fowler had blocked his initial effort following good work down the left by Hayter.
With 12 minutes to go Reds made their final change when Dean Morgan replaced Pogba but Crawley failed to create an opportunity for an equaliser as Yeovil saw the game out relatively comfortably.