Crawley’s penultimate game of the season ended in a frustrating 0-0 draw with Carlisle United at the Broadfield - a result which saw the Cumbrians all but relegated from League One.
It was an entertaining Tuesday night match littered with chances throughout, particularly for Reds who were wasteful in front of goal, while Liam Noble hit the crossbar for the visitors in the second half.
The result means the highest Crawley can now finish is 11th, while even a win against Wolves on the final day on Saturday is highly unlikely to save Carlisle from the drop.
John Gregory named three Crawley changes, in came fit again Andy Drury, along Sergio Torres and Saturday’s goal-scorer Jamie Proctor, to partner Matt Tubbs upfront in a 4-4-2 formation.
The visitors started like a side scrapping for their survival, and Reds goalkeeper Paul Jones needed to be alert to turn over an early David Symington cross which threatened to drop in.
At the other end Tubbs struck a fizzing low drive from the right of the box which drew a good diving stop from Carlisle ‘keeper Jordan Pickford after 15 minutes.
Both sides were looking to attack, though neither goal was properly threatened until a slip from Cumbrians’ defender Reece Brown gave Proctor the chance to strike a left-footed shot which skimmed over the crossbar.
By now Reds were playing some decent stuff, and when Proctor and Tubbs combined, the later curled an effort just wide from 20 yards as the half ended goalless.
The hosts looked to continue the second half in the same positive manner, and when Torres won the ball in the middle, Carlisle screamed for a free kick as Drury surged forward. He slipped Proctor in on the left, but cutting back his shot was tame and easily gathered by Pickford.
Desperately needing a victory to have any real hope of survival, the sense of urgency from the hosts suddenly went up a notch. From a cross from the right a combination of McFadzean and Mark Connolly blocked David Amoo’s shot, it fell to Liam Noble who crashed a shot against the crossbar.
Proctor then had a golden chance at the other end on the hour but with time and space in the opposition’s box, he delayed pulling the trigger before lashing over with his left.
The 226 travelling fans thought the had the goal they longed for but Brad Potts’ shot rippled only the side netting, and Noble then curled straight at Paul Jones.
Gregory’s men looked the more likely to break the deadlock, and after Proctor failed to make the most of a three on two Reds attack, left winger Gwion Edwards slalomed his way past two players inside the box only to see his shot blocked.
Tubbs lashed over with his left after Proctor put him in behind on the left, and with Carlisle going for broke and now playing three at the back, they left themselves exposed in defence, though Reds couldn’t make the most of a number of good breakaways.
Drury nearly got lucky with an inswinging cross which was completely missed by two players and skipped just past the far post.
In the 90th minute Edwards half volleyed just over and Proctor forced another save from Pickford as it ended goalless.
Reds now look forward to their final match of the season against Bristol City at the Broadfield on Saturday, while Carlisle go into their final match against the champions three points away from safety and needing a victory by four goals more than 20th placed Crewe.
REDS (4-4-2): P Jones; Sadler, Connolly, Walsh, McFadzean; Edwards, Torres, Bulman, Drury; Tubbs, Proctor.
Unused subs: Essam, Fallon, Monakana, Maddison, Isaacs, Richeford.
CARLISLE (4-5-1): Pickford; Chimbonda (Byrne 69), Chantler, O’Hanlon, Brown; Symington, Amoo, Berrett, Noble (Meppen-Walter 89), Potts; Guy (Dempsey 80).
Unused subs: Robson, Fleming, Redmond, Pearson.