Crawley Town and Leyton Orient played out a 0-0 draw in Sky Bet League Two on Tuesday night, with neither side finding a clinical touch in front of goal.
It was Crawley who had the opening chance of the game, coming from the penalty spot.
Tom Nichols looped a cross into the swirling Sussex rain and, underneath it, Jack Powell was bundled to the floor – our referee Kevin Johnson was quick to point to the spot.
Nichols, then, wanting to get the Red Devils off to an emphatic start put his laces through the ball and, consequently, the ball nearly through the crossbar as his strike cannoned into the car park behind the away stand.
Indeed, from there, Orient responded well.
Conor Wilkinson looked lively throughout the half and went close soon after the penalty, driving wide of Glenn Morris’ left-hand post.
Indeed, it was the Croydon-born forward that continued to threaten the Crawley goal in the early stages, with him flashing a strike over from the right-hand side of the box after a driving Nick Freeman had played him in, before his long-range free-kick was down the throat of Crawley ‘keeper Morris.
The former Millwall man was going close, then, and had the ball in the net midway through the half, rising high to nod home a good Sam Ling cross.
Ref Johnson, though, spotted a foul on defender Jordan Tunnicliffe and chalked off the strike for the visitors.
Indeed, the man in the middle was certainly getting decent use out of his whistle in the first half and did so again on the half-hour mark.
Orient midfielder Hector Kyprianou snapped into a challenge on the half-way line that was too late for Johnson, and indeed Crawley’s collective liking – a red card soon followed.
For Crawley, perhaps, a lifeline after a tough first period but they couldn’t do much to threaten even with the numerical advantage up until the break, with things level at half-time.
Perhaps expectedly, the Red Devils had better possession in the second half but early on after the break they did little with it.
Indeed, it was Orient who had the best chances initially, with three last-ditch Crawley blocks keeping things scoreless.
Craig Clay’s deflected shot from the edge of the box was saved by Morris’ outstretched feet, before Dan Kemp was crowded out as he tried to smuggle home the rebound.
Moments later, it was Nick Freeman to be denied, as his low drive was parried again by Morris in the Crawley goal.
The home side needed to start producing more going forwards, then, and that they did with Archie Davies coming on and doing well down the right.
A number of threatening crosses went without conversion before the best chance of the bunch came as he pulled back for Tom Nichols on the edge of the box. He, though, could only curl into the side-netting with his first-time effort.
Indeed, Crawley enjoyed further success going wide but just could not find the finishing touch in the final stages.
James Tilley worked space on the left to find Joe McNerney at the far post but he crashed his header over – a feat he’d repeat twice more before full-time with crosses this time coming from the right.
0-0 it would finish, then, with Town unable to make numerical advantage count and Orient left to rue not making their early purple patch tell.