Macclesfield Town 1 Crawley Town 1: Reds come from behind to take point at Silkmen
A much improved second half performance saw Crawley Town take a point at Macclesfield Town in League Two this (Saturday) afternoon.
The Reds endured a difficult first 45 minutes. Crawley were sloppy in attack and were punished as Theo Vassell's goal on 21 minutes gave Macc the lead.
But an improved display in the second half saw League Two's Player of the Month for August Bez Lubala lash home his fifth goal in six on 72 minutes to bag a point and extend the Reds' unbeaten run.
Gabriele Cioffi was forced into one change from last week's dramatic 1-0 home win against Cheltenham Town. Panutche Camara returned to the side in place of the departed Filipe Morais while Ashley Nadesan missed out through injury.
The Silkmen had the game's first gilt-edged opportunity just a minute into the game. Theo Archibald cut inside from the right and unleashed a curling effort that rattled the the bar.
Crawley had their first effort on goal ten minutes later. Lubala demonstrated fleet feet out wide but his shot from the edge of the area was straight at Macclesfield keeper Owen Evans.
The hosts took the lead on 21 minutes. A corner caused havoc in the Reds six-yard box and Vassell managed to bundle the ball over the line to make it 1-0 Macc.
After going behind Crawley struggled to carve out anything meaningful over the next 20 minutes. The only highlight for the Reds came on 29 minutes as Reece Grego-Cox's ball into last week's hero Ollie Palmer was well snuffed out by the Silkmen backline.
Macclesfield had a strong shout for a penalty turned down on 38 minutes as Corey O'Keefe seemed to be dragged back in the box but referee Charles Breakspear remained unmoved.
The Reds had a great chance two minutes later. A defensive mix-up saw the ball break to Lubala inside the area but a great tackle from Fiacre Kelleher prevented Crawley from restoring parity.
Another good passage of play from the Reds saw Lubala, Josh Doherty and Nathan Ferguson link up well before the latter fired just over from a tight angle.
Two minutes of stoppage time were added to the first half but the visitors couldn't force an opening. Breakspear blew his whistle to end a disappointing first 45 minutes for Cioffi's men.
Crawley had the second half's first sight of goal on 48 minutes as Grego-Cox's effort went just wide of the post.
A minute later and Reds keeper Glenn Morris was forced to tip Archibald's shot over the crossbar for a corner.
Substitute Mason Bloomfield then struck a wild effort towards goal on the hour but it failed to trouble Evans in the Macc goal.
Macclesfield began to grow into the second half. Archibald tried his luck on 64 minutes but his strike was straight at Morris.
But, despite the Silkmen's dominance in the second period, Crawley found the equaliser on 72 minutes. Lubala unleashed a fantastic 20-yard free-kick in to the right-hand corner of the goal to make it 1-1.
The Reds now had the bit between their teeth. On 77 minutes Lubala's shot from the left was spilt by Evans into the path of Palmer but the Crawley number nine couldn't get his feet sorted and poked the ball wide.
With four minutes of the game remaining Palmer could only send his free header at the back post wide of the Macclesfield goal.
A superb piece of defending from Doherty at the death kept the scores level. A ball to the far post found Miles Welch-Mays, who looked destined to head home, but the Reds left-back was in the right place at the right time to stop the effort and see the points shared.
Crawley Town: Morris, Sesay (Young 75), Tunnicliffe, Dallison, Doherty, Bulman, Camara, Grego-Cox, Ferguson (Bloomfield 46), Lubala, Palmer. Unused: Luyambula, Francomb, Nathaniel-George, Allarakhia, Galach.
Referee: Charles Breakspear
Attendance: 1,788 (165 away)