The Reds picked up a point on the road today after a late Harrogate equaliser cancelled out yet another Max Watters goal.
Crawley earned the first chance of the tie, Josh Doherty doing well to beat his man and win the first corner of the game in the opening two minutes. Jack Powell’s delivery was cleared at the near post.
The Reds then had a brilliant chance to take the lead through Max Watters, the striker was sent through one on one following a long ball by Tony Craig. Watters who was forced to shoot on an awkward bounce forced an acrobatic save from James Belshaw. The hosts returned with a chance of their own, Josh Falkingham blasted an effort towards goal which flew just wide of Nelson’s post.
Tom Walker then linked up well with Brendan Kiernan as Kiernan was able to turn his man and fire at goal, the effort appeared to be goalbound but Jack Powell flew into block and avert the danger. Neither side finding their rhythm in the opening 15 minutes.
Harrogate then forced a great save from Stuart Nelson, Jack Muldoon was played the ball neatly across the box and looked poised to slide in and poke home. Nelson, however, was on hand to dive in and smother the effort.
Crawley did well to soak up the pressure from the hosts and then carve out an attack of their own. Archie Davies delivered a fantastic ball into the box which Ashley Nadesan could not divert goalwards with his head. The Harrogate defence was slow to react to their own clearance, Tom Nichols sensed this and stole the ball from the feet of the defence. The striker worked his way to the byline to cut the ball back to Max Watters who was on hand to slide in and give the Reds the lead.
Crawley almost doubled their lead just moments later. Tom Nichols this time forcing a smart save from Belshaw after beating his man inside the box.
The Reds had another fantastic chance to double the lead three minutes before the break. Max Watters attempted to square the ball to Ashley Nadesan, who would have had an open goal but the cross was blocked by the Harrogate defence. The ball fell back to Watters who had another chance at goal but his shot was cleared off of the line by Falkingham.
Crawley started the second half as they finished the first, putting direct pressure on the Harrogate goal. Powell used great technique to volley at goal from the edge of the box which forced another fantastic save from Belshaw. Watters reacted first as the ball bounced towards the feet of the striker, Watters looked to take it around Belshaw who was still on the floor but the keeper outstretched a leg and cleared.
Max Watters and Ashley Nadesan almost combined on the counter-attack after good defending from Archie Davies. Davies lofted clearance fell kindly for Watters who was able to set the ball back to Nadesan, Ashley attempted to chip the ball over the defence which would have set Max through with a clear run to goal. Fortunately for Harrogate, Warren Burrell just managed to intercept.
The hosts appeared to be getting more of a foothold in the fixture as they forced another save from Stuart Nelson. Lloyd Kerry hit a fierce effort which clearly moved a lot in the air, Nelson did well to watch the strike and stick out a leg to divert over the bar. Josh Doherty then cleared Burrell’s effort off of the line from the resulting corner.
The Reds once again did well to soak up a period of Harrogate pressure and then mount some attacks of their own. Nadesan again did brilliantly to craft a through ball this time to Tyler Frost. Frost looked to link up with Nichols but the final ball was just in front of Nichols as the striker was forced to take the ball wide.
Harrogate looked very dangerous from set-pieces and were greeted with a flurry of corners with just over ten minutes to go. The Crawley defence handled the corners brilliantly but with just over five minutes left Harrogate equalised following a long throw. The ball was launched into the box, deep inside the Reds half by Fallowfield. The throw-in was flicked on by a Harrogate man in the packed Crawley penalty area, Jack Muldoon had the simple task of heading into an empty net at the back post to equalise for the hosts.
Crawley had one final piece of defending to do as the hosts won a free-kick midway inside the Reds half. Joe McNerney rose highest to clear as he had done on so many occasions throughout the fixture.
The Reds return to action next Saturday as they face Carlisle United at the People’s Pension Stadium.
Nelson; Davies, McNerney, Craig ©, Doherty; Powell, Hessenthaler, Allarakhia (Dallison 78’), Nichols, Watters (Frost 59’), Nadesan.