Hartlepool 1, Crawley Town 1: Reds unbeaten in six, but are held by Pools

James Collins slots in Crawley Town's equaliser from the penalty spot at Hartlepool
James Collins slots in Crawley Town's equaliser from the penalty spot at Hartlepool

Crawley extended their unbeaten run to six matches as they were held to a point away to Hartlepool this afternoon.

A James Collins penalty meant the League Two clash ended even after Pools took a first-half lead, but Reds were left frustrated after being denied from a hatful of chance.

The Pools were yet to win at home this season but also had drawn five of their of their matches at Victoria Park.

Reds meanwhile went into the clash in scintillating form with four victories from their previous five matches.

Lewis Alessandra netted an early header after a Nathan Thomas penalty miss before Collins levelled things up from the spot late on.

Having rung the changes for the midweek EFL Trophy victory over Sunderland, Dermot Drummy went with his more-prefered line-up with the only change from their last League Two game, was Jaston Banton replacing Adi Yussuf.

Pools got off to the perfect start when in the 12th minute when Alessandra opened the scoring.

Talisman Nathan Thomas was brought down in the area by Andre Blackman and after picking himself up, the six-goal wideman hit his spot-kick straight at Glen Morris.

Reacting quickest in the area was Alessandra, though, who opened his account for Pools with a header from the rebound.

The visitors were almost level minutes later when Enzio Boldewijn looked to have fouled Scott Harrison in the area but nothing was given and his subsequent header came back off the Bartlett’s left-hand post.

In the melee that ensued, the again impressive Nsiala had to be on hand to block a goal-bound effort, before Reds skipper Jimmy Smith cracked off the bar from 18 yards.

Having edged the opening 45 in terms of possession and chances Crawley could have been forgiven for feeling aggrieved they were a goal down at the break.

But into the second period and Pools, adjusting after the loss of Deverdics to injury, began to influence proceedings.

Alessandra began to find space on the right, while Hawkins also became an increasing presence in the middle.

Just as Pools looked to have weathered the storm Town were level on 76 minutes.

A floated cross from the right caught Carroll out at the back post. He allowed Collins to get in front of him, and with a header on goal looking likely, he bundled the frontman to the ground.

At the same end as Thomas’ miss, Collins made no mistake. Bartlett went the right way but could do little about the crisp strike into the bottom left corner.

Pools did have to survive a late scare in added time when Collins was denied a late winner, as Harrison’s goal-saving challenge denied the striker in added time, after Crawley had hit the upright.

Crawley: Morris, Young, Connolly, McNerney, Blackman (Arthur 57), Smith, Djalo, Banton (Bawling 57), Clifford, Boldewijn, Collins. Unused subs: Davey, Tajbakhsh, Pappoe, Beeney.

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