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Report: Crawley Town 1-1 Bristol City

A season of two halves ended in a top-half finish for City courtesy of a score draw at Crawley on the final day.

An open start to an ultimately uninspiring affair saw the hosts break the deadlock through Jamie Proctor’s close range finish on 25 minutes.

Between both goals City seemed off the pace, but Simon Gillett struck a well-placed equaliser 17 minutes into the second half to level things up.

From that moment on neither team seemed prepared to take any undue risks in search of victory, bringing a satisfying end to their respective campaigns.

Steve Cotterill reverted to the same side victorious at Stevenage on Easter Monday, handing recalls to Brendan Moloney and Tyrone Barnett at the expense of Scott Wagstaff and Martin Paterson.

Elsewhere, the manager offered a seat on the bench to Louis Carey with the 37-year-old defender’s contract due to expire in the summer.

It was a lively start to what was essentially an end of season dead rubber, with City forcing a couple of corners inside the first two minutes before Kyle McFadzean headed wide and Gwion Edwards dragged a 20-yard shot off target for the hosts. 

Meanwhile, Sam Baldock enjoyed his first sight of goal after ten minutes when Barnett’s hold-up play set up Greg Cunningham to cross for Baldock, who just could not apply the necessary purchase to suitably trouble Crawley keeper Paul Jones.

It was a good game, and the home side soon tested Simon Moore with a low shot which had to be turned around the post smartly.

It was Crawley who got their noses in front on 25 minutes from another corner. This time a deep delivery was helped back across goal by Edwards into the path of Andy Drury, whose low drive was turned in by Proctor from close range for the opener.

From that moment on the first half lost much of its previous zip, with City suddenly subdued in their approach to getting on the board themselves.

Cotterill resisted the urge to make any changes at the interval, sparking more of the same after the break, as Proctor was only denied by Moore at close quarters in attempting to double Crawley’s lead.

The spring was most certainly in the step of the hosts, as a clever Proctor backheel put Matt Tubbs in the clear, only for the normally clinical striker to bend his shot just the wrong side of the far post with Moore beaten.

City have often been comfortable in games only to be caught at the other end this season, but the reverse was true when Gillett struck the equaliser 17 minutes into the second half.

Innocuously picking up possession 40 yards out, the midfielder was allowed to carry the ball unchallenged towards the edge of the box before drilling a low shot perfectly into the bottom corner for his second goal of the campaign.

It was the shot in the arm the visitors needed, as Wade Elliott inflicted further urgency into the matter with a driving run and pass through the Crawley defence only for Barnett to be denied by the offside flag.

Both sides exchanged attacks for the remainder without creating anything of note, as City extended their unbeaten run to six matches to the close the campaign in a healthy 12th position.

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