League Two review: Strugglers have to settle for point in tense relegation scrap
CRAWLEY had to settle for a point in their battle against the drop in League Two after a 1-1 draw with Doncaster at Broadfield Stadium on Tuesday.
It is increasingly looking like the Reds will scrap with Hartlepool to avoid joining bottom club Rochdale in the National League, with Colchester and Harrogate still at risk.
Caolan Lavery headed Doncaster into the lead on the stroke of half-time but Crawley were rewarded for an improved second half when substitute Rafiq Khaleel rifled the ball home to put his side two points above second-bottom Hartlepool with a game in hand.
Newport County AFC should be mathematically safe soon as they have a 12-point lead over Pools with just nine games left.
On Saturday Hartlepool host leaders Leyton Orient while there is a crunch game between Crawley and Rochdale in Sussex.
Crawley boss Scott Lindsey went into the game urging his men to avoid any final-day drama by pulling away from the bottom two and felt his side deserved a third win on the spin.
“You can’t play that well in a relegation battle and only get one point,” he said. “We are so disappointed because we were completely dominant – I think we had at least 60 per cent possession.2 Lindsey admitted the players were “a bit despondent” about the result.
He added: “They are desperate to get out of the mess we are in. I know their work ethic and it’s been outstanding. We want to get three points in every game we play in.”
Gillingham are now 10 points clear of Hartlepool after Aiden O’Brien scored his first goal for the club to give Neil Harris’ side a 2-1 victory over Crewe.
The Ireland international scored with 20 minutes to go after Callum Ainley had drawn the visitors level following Tom Nichols’ opener.
Carlisle moved back into the League Two automatic promotion places after picking up a point in a goalless draw at Bradford.
It was a second straight 0-0 draw for the Cumbrians against a top-seven rival following their weekend stalemate with Stevenage.
But it maintained their five-point advantage over Mark Hughes’ Bradford while moving them above Northampton into third place.
Both sides hit the woodwork – with Carlisle substitute Jordan Gibson striking the inside of the post with the final kick of the game.