Crawley Down Gatwick lost ground on the race for the play-off places when they were held to a 1-1 draw in freezing conditions by relegation battlers Horsham
Down’s Fraser Logan gave the home side the lead in only the second minute but an equaliser just before half-time by Trevor McCreadie made for an interesting second half.
Manager John Maggs made one change to the line-up which had beaten Walton Casuals 3-1 on Tuesday as Byron Napper, recovered from an ankle injury, returned to midfield while striker Jamie Cade was ruled out with a hamstring problem.
After looking like a reasonable afternoon, the weather made a sudden turn for the worse and it started snowing lightly just as the game kicked off.
It took only 65 seconds for the Anvils to take the lead through their skipper Logan with a first-time left-footed shot following a cut inside from the left flank by Miles Mitchell. It looked like it was to be a repeat of their 4-1 win at Gorings Mead on New Year’s Day.
Horsham wasted no time in beginning their fightback as on 10 minutes and with only the keeper to beat, Billy Dunn was denied by goalkeeper Tony Di Bernardo.
Down striker Luke Blewden teed up Gaby Odunaike for a potential second goal but he was prevented from getting a shot off through quick work from stopper Michael Hunter who grabbed from his feet.
Horsham then went in search of an equaliser and they began to pressurise the home penalty area, first as Tony Nwachukwu saw a cross intercepted by Jack Page in the Down central defence and then Trevor McCreadie was kept out when the ball fell for him, by the in-form Di Bernardo.
Horsham’s attacking players showed much more desire to go forward then earlier in the season. With the snow having stopped, McCreadie went forward but couldn’t connect with a cross from the left, then on another occasion Dunn volleyed well wide.
Ryan Marriott struck a free-kick in front of goal over the wall but straight into the keeper’s welcoming arms.
Then in the 43rd minute Horsham’s attacking forays and midfield possession were rewarded with a goal expertly headed in by McCreadie from a cross in from the right by Nwachukwu.
Horsham continued in the same vein in the second half as they went in search of a second goal. Dunn hit the post from a tight angle and on the rebound Marriott saw his follow-up shot turned around for a good save by Di Bernardo.
Nwachukwu was replaced by Jordon Clarke, taken off as a precaution after tweeking his troublesome hamstring and Charlie Farmer came on for Billy Joe King, again for an injury which led to a lengthy period of added time.
Marriott saw another of his drives tipped over the bar in a second half which petered out before Horsham cranked up the pressure again in the closing stages.
McCreadie carved out three more scoring chances in the last few minutes as Horsham made all the running. He showed confidence and willingness to take opponents on as he lifted one over the bar, glanced another attempt wide with a header and after a nice turn fired a third well over the crossbar.
Finally substitute Jamie Ampleford saw another effort turned around for a corner as the visitors finished well on top.
Crawley Down Gatwick: Di Bernardo, Slocombe, Mitchell, Richards, Page, Morley, Sargent, Napper, Odunaike, Blewden, Logan