Rotherham 2-2 Crawley Town: Tubbs on target but Millers snatch late leveller

Matt Tubbs scored one and made one
Matt Tubbs scored one and made one

Matt Tubbs scored his first goal since returning to Crawley but there was late, late heartbreak when Kieran Agard snatched a 96th minute equaliser to cruelly deny John Gregory’s side all three points.

Tubbs - who spent the first half of the season largely warming the bench for Evans’ Millers - put Reds ahead before Agard levelled from the penalty spot.

Having scored his 59th Crawley goal Tubbs then got the assist for captain Josh Simpson, but in a breathless finish Rotherham grabbed a share of the spoils when Agard slammed home his second deep into added time.

Amazingly there was still time for Reds to nearly win it but Millers ‘keeper Adam Collin made a brilliant triple save as a thrilling contest ended 2-2.

Gregory made one change from the draw at Coventry, Billy Clarke back in the team after his suspension for Alexander, playing just off Tubbs. New signing Gary Dicker was on the bench.

The hosts carved out a good chance after only two minutes when a corner deflected up into the path of Millers skipper Kari Arnason but his header at the back post was weak.

A nice through ball from Middlesborough loanee Richard Smallwood cut through the Reds defence and found Agard on the left, his low ball couldn’t be touched home and Mat Sadler blocked well on Tom Hitchcock following up.

The game hadn’t settled into any kind of real pattern when Crawley took the lead on 23 minutes. Adams was picked out in space to the left of the penalty area, and though his low cross was nowhere near the waiting Tubbs, ‘keeper Collin spilled the ball into his path and the striker gobbled up his first goal since re-signing, his 59th in total for Reds. It was a moment to really savour for the man deemed surplus to requirements by Evans and had his loan deal cut short.

Ten minutes later a Millers free kick into the Reds box was headed up into the air and Revell struck a first-time volley through a crowd of bodies which Paul Jones did well to get down to.

From the corner though Reds failed to properly clear their lines and Pringle picked the ball back up and darted into the box, where he was clattered by Walsh for a clear penalty. Agard confidently beat Jones from 12 yards to put the Millers on level terms.

Rotherham improved after their goal and Smallwood curled a left-footer wide from just inside the box at the end of the first-half.

Evans made a change at half-time, Revell replaced by new signing Wes Thomas, who had a brief spell at Reds two seasons ago.

It was Crawley who made the better start to the second half and when Collin flapped at a corner Andy Drury volleyed not far wide with the ‘keeper in no man’s land.

Rotherham then threatened with a spate of corners, and from the first Thomas nearly got his Millers career off to a flier but his header at the back stick was turned behind by a defender on the post.

At the other end Tubbs did brilliantly to flick on a long punt forward and it released Clarke through on goal, his shot though was disappointing and straight into the clutches of Collin.

The game had really opened up with both sides intent on pressing for the next goal and it was Crawley who found it in some style. Clarke found the feet of Tubbs with his back to goal in the box, he touched the ball into the path of Simpson, arriving at pace and the skipper tucked it under Collin for his first goal of the season.

Pringle flashed a shot just wide from outside the box as the hosts looked for an instant response.

Evans threw on his last substitute in striker Michael O’Connor but it was Reds who came close on the break with eight minutes remaining. Mike Jones played a slick one-two with Simpson and broke into the box on the left, but with men screaming for the pass he went for goal and only hit the side netting.

The expected barrage arrived in the final five minutes with a number of corners, and from one, only a fine header from the excellent McFadzean denied Thomas the chance to level.

Paul Jones kept out a stinging long-range effort from sub Haris Vuckic but from the corner the ball pin-balled around and Agard broke Reds hearts by slamming home his second goal of the game.

Incredibly there was still time for Millers keeper Collin to produce an unbelievable triple save to keep out Drury, Alexander and then Clarke for the final action of a whirlwind match.

Millers (4-4-2): Collin; Tavernier, Skarz, Arnason, Addison; Agard, Pringle, Smallwood (O’Connor 72), Milsom; Hitchock (Vuckic 53), Revell (Thomas 45).

Unused: Shearer, Brindley, Davis, Bradley.

REDS (4-4-1-1): P Jones; Connolly, Sadler, McFadzean, Walsh; M Jones, Adams, Simpson (Dicker 94), Drury; Clarke; Tubbs (Alexander 90).

Unused: Essam, Torres, Proctor, Malins, Maddison.