York 2 Crawley 2: Reds denied away win

25 March 2016.......    York City v Crawley Town. 
Crawley's Jon Ashton concedes a penalty, tripping Lewis Alessandra. Picture Tony Johnson YPN-160325-171531049
25 March 2016....... York City v Crawley Town. Crawley's Jon Ashton concedes a penalty, tripping Lewis Alessandra. Picture Tony Johnson YPN-160325-171531049

Crawley Town twice let slip a lead before being held to a 2-2 draw by second to bottom York.

Reds looked set for what would have been their second away victory in a row.

25 March 2016.......    York City v Crawley Town. 
Luke Summerfield scores an equaliser for York from the penalty spot. Picture Tony Johnson YPN-160325-171603049

25 March 2016....... York City v Crawley Town. Luke Summerfield scores an equaliser for York from the penalty spot. Picture Tony Johnson YPN-160325-171603049

Goals in each half by Matt Harrold and Liam McAlinden gave them the lead.

But York drew level thanks to a penalty by Luke Summerfield and a second half goal curled in to the top corner by Michael Coulson.

A floated free-kick from Crawley’s Simon Walton appeared to pose very little threat.

Scott Flinders, however, initially came to collect but then hesitated and that was the only invitation Harrold needed to nip in and lift a first-time shot over the stranded City goalkeeper and into the net.

25 March 2016.......    York City v Crawley Town. 
York's Will Boyle wins a header in a crowded penalty box. Picture Tony Johnson YPN-160325-171707049

25 March 2016....... York City v Crawley Town. York's Will Boyle wins a header in a crowded penalty box. Picture Tony Johnson YPN-160325-171707049

For the next 20 or so minutes, York looked as flat as the crowd was quiet, almost as if the club’s fate had already been sealed.

Then, though, came a revival that, first, saw goalkeeper Callum Preston spill a Danny Galbraith free-kick before then being called into action to deny Dave Winfield from the resulting corner.

Lewis Alessandra then gave the hosts a fantastic chance to restore parity with a weaving run that saw two defenders left trailing in the loanee’s wake before his run was brought to an abrupt halt by a clumsy Jon Ashton challenge.

Referee Phil Gibbs had no option but to point to the spot and Luke Summerfield ensured the Minstermen were able to benefit from Alessandra’s skill by sending Preston the wrong way from 12 yards.

25 March 2016.......    York City v Crawley Town. 
 York Reece Thompson tussles with Crawley's Jon Ashton. Picture Tony Johnson YPN-160325-171809049

25 March 2016....... York City v Crawley Town. York Reece Thompson tussles with Crawley's Jon Ashton. Picture Tony Johnson YPN-160325-171809049

Clearly buoyed to be back on level terms, York produced their best spell of the game as Alessandra dragged a shot wide after intelligently using the pace of a Russell Penn pass to steal a march on the last defender.

Vadaine Oliver also should have benefited from more good work by Alessandra but the club’s joint top scorer shot wide despite being well placed.

That strong end to the opening 45 minutes should have been the prelude to a concerted push for the afternoon’’s third goal on the restart.

Instead, the defensive frailties that have left City deep in trouble returned with a vengeance as Crawley went ahead once again.

25 March 2016.......    York City v Crawley Town. 
Michael Coulson celebrates with Femi Ilesanmi after scoring an equaliser for York. Picture Tony Johnson YPN-160325-171738049

25 March 2016....... York City v Crawley Town. Michael Coulson celebrates with Femi Ilesanmi after scoring an equaliser for York. Picture Tony Johnson YPN-160325-171738049

A long throw by Andy Bond on the right flank was just begging to be cleared but then Scot Bennett got in the way of Winfield to inadvertently flick the ball to McAlinden.

The Red Devils’ striker was in sufficient space to be able to turn on the edge of the six-yard box before beating Flinders with a scuffed shot.

York did come close to an instant reply but Preston somehow got a strong enough hand to a rasping volley from Summerfield to deny the midfielder

Winfield then had an effort from 20 yards that flashed just past the post before Preston did brilliantly to keep out a deflected Alessandra effort.

As well as he did to react quick enough to deny that effort, Preston was helpless on 69 minutes when Michael Coulson cut in from the left flank and unleashed an unstoppable 15-yard shot beyond the goalkeeper’s right hand.

A couple of crosses did flash across the face of Crawley’s goal as York chased a winner but, in truth, it was the visitors who should really have wrapped up the points when McAlinden was presented with a chance he spurned courtesy of that woeful first touch.

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