Ben Gladwin rescued a point for the Red Devils in a dramatic game that ended in a 2-2 draw at the Broadield Stadium. The Reds took the lead in the 19th minute as Luke Offord put the ball into the back of his own net. Crewe made changes at the break and turned the game around with two goals early in the second half. Sean Robertson was dismissed for the visitors late on, and with eight minutes of stoppage time indicated, captain Ben Gladwin netted his first Crawley goal in the 97th minute to salvage a point for the Reds.
Crawley started the game well at the Broadfield Stadium, and a large section of the West Stand thought that Dom Telford had given the Red Devils the lead. A nice move on the wing from Kellan Gordon and Tom Fellows resulted in the ball being fed into the danger area, which Telford whipped towards goal. The ball crashed into the side netting, with many thinking it had landed in the back of the net.
Referee Charles Breakspear was certainly not in a forgiving mood this afternoon as three players found themselves in the book within the first fifteen minutes. Telford and Ludwig Francillette had been cautioned for Crawley, while Sean Robertson had been given a yellow card for an awful challenge on Telford.
Crawley’s persistence paid off in the 19th minute, as a Crewe Alexandra player put the ball into his own net. Despite the opposition player having the final touch, this was a really good goal from Scott Lindsey’s side. Teddy Jenks worked the ball out to Gordon on the far side, and after a really neat interchange between Jack Powell and Tom Fellows, Gordon received the ball back with room to run. The full-back back drilled the ball across the goal, and Crewe defender Luke Offord provided a crucial touch to take it past David Richards.
The Red Devils were looking well-drilled in the first half, and a swift counter-attack almost caught Crewe sleeping in the 30th minute. A deft touch from Telford freed Fellows, who slid the ball across the box to Ashley Nadesan. The striker came agonisingly close to reaching the ball but could only poke wide on the stretch.
Crewe still looked dangerous, and Corey Addai had to be alert to beat away an effort from striker Elliot Nevitt. A powerful effort was whipped towards goal by the Crewe striker, and Addai was forced to palm away the effort.
Richards was forced to make an equally impressive stop a few moments later as Powell struck a sweetly hit shot at goal. The ball was fed to the midfielder on the edge of the box, and he wasted no time in pulling the trigger. Richards tipped the ball over the bar to the delight of the Crewe fans behind the goal, who thought they were set to be 2-0 down before the break.
It was a much better start for Crewe in the second half, and the visitors pulled level in the 50th minute. Daniel Agyei was fed through on goal, and despite taking the ball almost to the byline, the Crewe man somehow squeezed the ball past Addai into the opposite corner.
Things went from bad to worse for Crawley, as Crewe were awarded a penalty ten minutes later. Agyei cooly dispatched the penalty to put his side ahead.
The next fifteen minutes were incredibly poor. The game was sloppy, Crewe were taking any opportunity to waste a few seconds, and Crawley were looking fresh out of ideas. Jack Roles and Aramide Oteh replaced Powell and Jenks as Scott Lindsey searched for a response from his players.
Crawley were handed a lifeline with just over five minutes of normal time remaining. Sean Roberston earned himself a second yellow card, meaning Crewe would have to survive with ten men for the remainder of the match.
Finally, with only seconds on the clock remaining, the Reds levelled the score. Crawley skipper Ben Gladwin scored a dramatic 97th-minute equaliser with a low-driven finish from close range.
The Reds had rescued a point late on, but there will always be a feeling that three points were there to be taken.
REDS XI: Addai, Gordon, Francillette, Conroy, Tsaroulla, Jenks (75’), Fellows (Lynch 90’), Powell (Roles 70’), Gladwin, Nadesan, Telford
Attendance: 2589 (205 away)