Crawley Town remain in the League One relegation places as they had to settle for a point away to Crewe Alexandra this afternoon.
Reds played out a 0-0 draw through the driving rain at Gresty Road, in the majority of which, proved a fairly uneventful encounter.
A point does neither side much good in their battle to beat the drop as the home side stay 19th and Crawley 22nd with the scoreless result.
It was a solid showing from the visitors’ back four, marshalled superbly by Richard Wood, as they kept a lively front three quiet in the final third and Reds almost pinched one at the death with some late pressure.
Dean Saunders rang the changes for the crucial clash with Lanre Oyebanjo, Dean Leacock, Gwion Edwards and Mathias Pogba all returning, as Lewis Young, Ryan Dickson and Marvin Elliott dropped to the bench.
Darren Ward missed out owing to a heel injury and Bobson Bawling did not make the squad.
The home side asked the first question of Brian Jensen after just five minutes as Jamie Ness’ drive from outside the box was beaten away at the near post and the follow-up from Greg Leigh was blocked.
Reds’ first effort came from Izale McLeod from a promising situation with Pogba on his right, but he opted to shoot and dragged well wide from 23 yards.
Leacock’s first game for more than three months out with a groin injury came to a premature end on 20 minutes as he hobbled off injured.
The centre-back was replaced by Dickson as Sonny Bradley shifted across to the middle of the back four.
Crawley then settled after the home side’s fast start, but failed to have much of an impact on the game in their opponent’s half owing to misplaced passes.
Instead it was the hosts that - although also guilty of being careless with the ball - saw more of it. Despite that, they failed to test Jensen apart from a couple of smart takes from the stopper a series of set-pieces.
There was little to raise the spirits at a damp Gresty Road as an unforgettable half drew to a close.
Reds had the first chance of the second period after a smart exchange on the edge of the box by Pogba, Gavin Tomlin and Anthony Wordsworth, Oyebanjo fired just past the far top corner.
On the hour-mark, a dangerous-looking free-kick from Wordsworth was whipped into the Crewe box, but headed away by Alan Tate.
Back down the other end, substitute Ryan Colclough turned on the edge of the box and fired over, while Chris Atkinson’s lobbed shot dropped just over the bar.
The home side continued to put neat moves together in the final third, but lacked the killer ball as Reds’ defence stood strong.
In the 84th minute, McLeod checked back in the area, but his left-footed effort was straight at Paul Rachubka.
In the final minute, Tomlin poked towards goal and Rachubka pushed behind to give the visitors their first corner of the match.
From that set-piece a touch on Fowler’s delivery turned the ball goalwards and despite faint Crawley appeals it had crossed the line, it was cleared.
Crawley: Jensen, Oyebanjo, Leacock (Dickson 21), Wood, Bradley, Tomlin, Fowler, Wordsworth, Edwards, Pogba (Morgan 84), McLeod. Unused subs: Price, Young, Smith, Elliott, Cofie.
Crewe: Rachubka, Turton, Tate, Davis, Leigh, Atkinson, Grant, Ness, Valle (Haber 90), Ikpeazu (Inman 74), Ajose (Colclough 61). Unused subs: Gutherie, Ray, Jones, , Stewart.
Attendance: 5,353 (206 away).