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Reds forced to settle for a point against stern Doncaster.

21 March 2023

Caolan Lavery glanced in the opener against the run of play just before halftime, but substitute Rafiq Khaleel rescued a point for the Reds with his late finish from the edge of the box.

Crawley threatened early when a short corner was worked to James Tilley, who curled wide from a narrow angle, before a low drive from Mazeed was held by Stuart Moore.

Tilley stung the palms of Moore, with Dom Telford slicing a difficult follow-up chance over with the Reds well on top.

Doncaster were growing into the game, but Crawley still created the best chances, as demonstrated when Kellan Gordon’s mis-hit cross flew inches over the bar.

Despite Crawley’s strong display, it was Doncaster who broke the deadlock in additional time at the end of the first-half. Ben Close spun a delightful free-kick into a completely unmarked Caolan Lavery, who flicked a smart header beyond the reach of Corey Addai, giving the Rovers the advantage going into the break.

In the second-half, another dangerous delivery from Close was half-cleared, with Kyle Hurst blasting the follow-up way over.

Telford latched onto Addai’s well placed clearance, but could only fire straight at Moore.

Jack Powell came desperately close to a stunning equaliser when Ben Gladwin’s cross was headed out, with Powell controlling and unleashing a fierce volley which was tipped over. Dion Conroy was found from the resulting corner kick, but he could only send his header looping over the bar.

Just as things were starting to look desperate, the Reds found their deserved equaliser. After a long spell of possession Aramide Oteh tried his luck from the edge of the box, with his shot being deflected out to substitute Rafiq Khaleel who swept the ball into the bottom corner, kissing the post on its way in. The Reds were level in the 82nd minute.

Soon after Crawley were nearly in front when Khaleel darted forwards on the counter before feeding Oteh, whose shot flew across goal, causing a scramble in the penalty area before play was eventually stopped by the linesman’s flag.

Crawley were looking the more likely as Ashley Nadesan fired a good chance over the bar on the volley.

Khaleel almost had a second, with his low curling effort being pushed away by Moore. Nadesan followed in, but the linesman’s flag cut Crawley’s celebrations short in what was the last action of a frustrating draw for the Reds.

REDS XI: Addai, Conroy, Lynch (Gordon 32’), Tilley (Fellows 63’), Powell, Nadesan, Telford, Gladwin (Khaleel 76’), Johnson, Oteh, Mazeed

Attendance: 2850 (307 away)

Report by Coren Blackburn

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