Yeovil Town let slip a two goal lead as they drew 2-2 with Crawley Town in a thriller at a chilly Huish Park tonight.
Byron Webster gave the Glovers a dream start with a header on three minutes and top scorer Paddy Madden doubled the lead on 17 minutes. But in the proverbial game of two halves, Crawley fought back with two quick second half goals through Joe Walsh and Matt Sparrow and either side could have snatched a winner as the woodwork was struck five times.
In the end, it will represent two points dropped for Gary Johnson’s men as the run of seven successive home league wins comes to an end. The result sees Yeovil drop to sixth place in the table after other results tonight.
The manager made one change to the team that gained a point at Hartlepool on Saturday. Sam Foley failed to recover from his rib injury so new signing Ben Gordon came straight into the starting eleven. And the former Chelsea youngster was straight into the action after just three minutes as his chipped ball into the box from Ed Upson’s cleared corner found Byron Webster diving to head home for his fifth goal of the season.
The game began in a frantic manner with both sides going for the jugular early on. Jamie Proctor made home keeper Marek Stech scramble back to watch his shot go wide and Dan Burn then cleared a header off the line after Stech had tipped a cross shot away as Crawley searched for an equaliser.
Upson headed wide from Jamie McAllister’s cross but the Glovers weren’t to be denied and went two up on seventeen minutes. Luke Ayling played a ball in from the right wing and who else but Paddy Madden coolly slotted home his 20th goal of the season into the corner of the net.
Billy Clarke shot wide and Paul Hayes, signed on loan from Brentford this week, chipped wide of Stech’s goal before manager Johnson was forced to replace captain McAllister with Nathan Ralph shortly after.
Clarke, Crawley’s top scorer, then curled a free kick onto the crossbar and Hayes then came up with the miss of the season as he volleyed over the bar from a yard out, a narrow squeak for the home side. Yeovil went just as close on forty minutes when after Webster and Burn had done their best to unsight goalkeeper Paul Jones, Upson curled a free kick against the outside of the post.
Stech then had to produce a brilliant diving save to thwart Hayes right on half time before Burn had his header at the other end easily saved by Jones in the Crawley goal.
The second half couldn’t have started any worse for the Glovers as within a minute, they found their lead halved. Matt Sparrow’s free kick was met by Hayes who flicked on for Joe Walsh to head home at the far post. Yeovil then wobbled for a good fifteen minutes as Crawley pushed and pushed for the leveller. Stech saved well from Mat Sadler’s shot, Webster cleared a Hayes effort off the line and Clarke shot over on the angle of the penalty area.
So I was no real surprise that Crawley eventually levelled just after the hour mark. James Hayter had just headed against the Crawley pos but as the visitors counter attacked, Matt Sparrow hit a rasping shot that hit the net with power.
Dominic Blizzard came on for Gordon on 66 minutes as Johnson reshuffled his cards and the midfielder’s cross into the box five minutes later appeared to be handled by a Crawley defender and away for a corner. Joe Edwards saw his volley saved by Jones and after Gavin Williams came on for Hayter, Yeovil went even closer to grabbing a late winner when Edwards’ volley hit the post.
Stech then produced the save of the match as he clawed a Crawley header from on the goal line and sub Mike Jones then hit a drive against the foot of Stech’s post with two minutes of normal time remaining.
Four minutes of stoppage time saw Yeovil come closest with both Williams and Madden shooting at goal but the crowd of 3,338 were left feeling deflated after what at half time had looked like almost certain victory ended in a disappointing draw.