Crawley were forced to settle for a point at the County Ground this evening as the home side scored an equalising goal in the 93rd minute. A first-half penalty from Jack Powell gave Crawley the lead just minutes before half-time, and despite defending brilliantly for over 90 minutes, Swindon snatched a point at the death. Ben Gladwin’s effort from the edge of the area took a massive deflection and crept into the corner of the Crawley goal.
Swindon got things underway at the County Ground and almost took the lead within the opening minute. Glenn Morris beat away a volley from Harry McKirdy from inside the box before Tony Craig flew in with a vital block to deny McKirdy’s second attempt.
The hosts were starting to turn up the heat in search of the opening goal as Crawley struggled to get a firm grip on the ball in the opening exchanges. Ellis Landolo went close on two occasions with curling efforts from the edge of the Crawley penalty area.
The Reds responded with a chance of their own as Tom Nichols forced a great save from Jojo Wollacott. A quick free-kick from Jack Powell set the striker free inside the Swindon box. Nichols tried a lob which Wollacoot palmed away at the last second. Just moments later, Nichols had another chance. Brilliant footwork from the striker allowed space for a shot from inside the penalty area. Wollacott was once again equal to the effort.
Crawley’s persistence paid dividends, as in the 40th minute, James Tilley was tripped inside the penalty area giving referee Carl Brook no choice but to point to the spot. Jack Powell was given the responsibility of the spot kick. The midfielder stepped up a cooly slotted his penalty into the bottom corner sending Wollacott the wrong way.
Archie Davies was forced off with an injury just before the break. The returning Ludwig Francillette came on to replace the injured full-back.
The Reds survived a late onslaught from Swindon during the two added minutes. McKirdy once again came close to finding the target with the last kick of the first half.
Swindon started the second half just as they began the first. Jack Payne made two crucial challenges in the opening five minutes to deny Swindon clear goalscoring opportunities. McKirdy then fired a powerful effort wide for what felt like the 100th time.
Crawley were soaking up the Swindon pressure well and were beginning to mount some dangerous counter-attacks. James Tilley fired two efforts narrowly wide of the target as the Reds began to build their way into the second half. Tyler Frost replaced Reece Grego-Cox to give Crawley some fresh legs in attack.
Swindon had two penalty appeals waved away by the referee with just over ten minutes to go. McKirdy, along with the entirety of the County Ground, was furious that his side were not awarded a penalty. The attacker's protests warranted a strong talking to by Carl Brook.
With five minutes of added time indicated, the hosts equalised through Ben Gladwin. The ball broke loose on the edge of the box, and the midfielder struck a weak effort at goal. With the help of a massive deflection, the ball bobbled into the back of the net to deny Crawley a second successive win on the road.
REDS XI: Morris, Davies (Francillette 44’), Tunnicliffe, Craig, Tsaroulla, Payne, Tilley, Powell, Nichols, Nadesan (Marshall 78’), Grego-Cox (Frost 66’)