Crawley Town 2 Plymouth Argyle 2: Reds in play-off spot after late Palmer penalty
Ollie Palmer's penalty seven minutes from time snatched a 2-2 draw for Crawley Town at home to Plymouth Argyle this (Tuesday) evening and move them in to the League Two play-off places.
Reece Grego-Cox's early strike gave the Reds the lead at the break but Gabriele Cioffi's charges almost endured a nightmare second half. Joe Edwards' double looked like it would send the three points back to Devon but Palmer's late spot kick salvaged a point to move Crawley up to seventh.
Cioffi made one change from Saturday's 1-0 home win over Mansfield Town. Mason Bloomfield came in for Palmer, who limped off against the Stags at the weekend.
Argyle had the first chance of the evening on six minutes. Byron Moore sped past Jamie Sendles-White before drilling a shot that was well saved by Glenn Morris.
But two minutes later the Reds' first foray forward yielded a goal. Bez Lubala bombed forward, driving to the by-line. The starlet's low cross found Grego-Cox in the box who calmly steered the ball past Plymouth keeper Alex Palmer to make it 1-0.
Crawley made another raid forward on 14 minutes. Josh Doherty played an inviting ball into the area for Nathan Ferguson, but Gary Sawyer did just enough to put off the midfielder as Palmer easily claimed Ferguson's header.
Three minutes later Morris was called into an emphatic save. Good work from Antoni Sarcevic allowed Moore to break through. The forward fired at goal but Morris made a top notch stop to keep the Reds ahead.
Ferguson nearly doubled Crawley's advantage on 21 minutes. The midfielder turned his defender inside out before hitting a low shot millimetres wide of the post.
Six minutes later and the Reds' exceptional football continued to flow but they still couldn't nab the second. Grego-Cox did well to stay on his feet to cross for Lubala but the 21-year-old could only head wide.
On 38 minutes Jordan Tunnicliffe made a superb last-ditch tackle to keep the hosts ahead. The defender got down low to slide and block the onrushing Moore, preventing him from firing home.
Two minutes later Danny Mayor buccaneered forward. The Argyle midfielder was clipped by a Crawley player but he did well to stay on his feet. Mayor could not compose himself after the coming together and skewed his snap shot wide.
The Reds had the last chance of the half in stoppage time. Panutche Camara opened up his body to curl an attempt inches past the post.
Plymouth had bossed possession in the opening first 45 minutes and they began the second half with the bit between their teeth.
On 54 minutes Jose Baxter nodded the ball into the path of Will Aimson who cracked off a vicious volley that was acrobatically saved by Morris at point-blank range.
The game had to wait until 69 minutes for either side to have a go at goal. Sawyer beat David Sesay and hit a rushed shot that flew high and wide and over.
Crawley really hadn't got going in the second half and Plymouth were carving out the better of the chances. And the Reds were punished for their lack of cutting edge on 73 minutes.
Great work down the left from Callum McFadzean saw the Scotsman cross for Joe Edwards at the far post and the midfielder nodded in from close-range to make it 1-1.
Crawley were rocked after the equaliser and couldn't compose themselves as the Pilgrims went ahead on 79 minutes.
Mayor sped past Tunnicliffe, leaving the Crawley defender on his backside, before picking out Edwards who fired into the top corner.
But the Reds were handed a lifeline with seven minutes to go. Grego-Cox was hauled down in the area after attempting to race past McFadzean. Up stepped Palmer and the substitute expertly converted the spot kick to make it 2-2.
This proved to be the final gilt-edged chance of the game as the spoils were shared.
Crawley Town: Morris, Sesay, Sendles-White, Tunnicliffe, Doherty, Bulman (Francomb 46), Ferguson (Palmer 59), Grego-Cox, Camara (Allarkhia 80), Lubala, Bloomfield. Unused: Luyambula, Young, Nathaniel-George, Allarakhia, Galach.
Referee: David Rock
Attendance 2,501 (800 away)