CRAWLEY TOWN 1, NOTTS COUNTY 1
Ashley Nathaniel-George scored his fourth goal of the season but Reds had to settle for a point against bottom of the table Notts County at a sunny People’s Pension Stadium.
The wide man struck on 20 minutes after Craig Mackal-Smith had headed the visitors into a ninth minute lead.
County defender Ben Barclay was shown a straight red for a late challenge on Dannie Bulman in the 54th minute but despite enjoying lots of possession Reds could not find a winner.
Gabriele Cioffi had made three changes to the side which sealed League status om Good Friday with Joe Maguire, Nathaniel-George and Luke Gambin coming into the side.
Notts went in front on nine minutes. Filipe Morais slipped as he went to clear in the left-hand corner and Matt Tootle took advantage, crossing to the far post when Mackail-Smith looped a header inside the left-hand post.
That stung Reds into life and they levelled on 20 minutes. Nathaniel-George got the ball back after winning a free kick and drifted past two challenges before beating Ryan Schofield with a shot from 15 yards.
Panutche Camara had another energetic afternoon and fired straight at Schofield while Barclay and Mitch Rose went close at the other end for the visitors.
Barclay wasn’t far away from heading in a 50th-minute free kick by Michael Doyle but four minutes later the on-loan Brighton defender’s two-footed challenge on halfway, which left Dannie Bulman needing extensive treatment, was punished with a straight red card by referee Graham Lancashire.
Notts withdrew striker Jon Stead and held what they had. Reds enjoyed plenty of possession in the final third of the contest and twice went close to scoring.
Joe McNerney stayed up after Reds recycled possession at a free kick and his angled drive looked like it was going to be turned in by Tom Dallison, but the defender couldn’t make contact at full stretch.
With 20 minutes to go Schofield pushed out Nathaniel-George’s shot. Lewis Young then put in a superb cross from the right but substitute Reece Grego-Cox directed a close-range header wide.
Reds huffed and puffed thereafter, but their Easter exertions seemed to take affect and it was two tired sides who saw out the closing minutes, the point not enough to keep Notts off the bottom of the table with two games to go. Reds drop a place to 19th.
Reds: Morris; Young, McNerney, Dallison, Maguire; Morais, Nathaniel-George, Bulman, Camara, Gambin (Grego-Cox 55); Palmer. Unused subs: Mersin, Doherty, Sesay, Galach, N’Gala.
Attendance: 2800 (532 Notts County)
Picture: Ashley Nathaniel-George scores his fourth goal of the season. Photo by James Boardman