Southend United 0-0 Crawley Town

Southend keeper Cameron Belford saved a Billy Clarke penalty as the Shrimpers held on with nine men in a goalless League Two promotion tussle.

Home skipper Chris Barker was sent off for handling Josh Simpson's shot.

But, from the resulting Clarke spot-kick, on-loan Bury keeper Belford scrambled to his left to save, to leave Crawley now five games without a win.

And Southend finished the night down to nine men when substitute Liam Dickinson was stretchered off late on.

After coming on just past the hour, folowing Barker's red card, Dickinson had only been on the park for 17 minutes before coming off worse in a 50-50 tackle with Crawley left-back Warren Cummings.

But despite playing six minutes of injury time, Crawley were unable to claim their first win in six matches.

And that made it a home debut to remember for Belford, who made first-half saves from Sergio Torres, Dannie Bulman and Scott Davies, before two more vital second-half blocks and his double stop to deny Clarke from the spot.

Clarke struck his penalty low down the middle but Belford saved with his legs before getting his clutches on the awkwardly-spinning rebound.

And Paul Sturrock's side held firm to remain third in the table, with Crawley staying sixth.

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Southend United manager Paul Sturrock told BBC Essex:

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Draw feels like a win - Sturrock

"There's been a lot of times when we've been nipped in the last minute and for people to get a draw against us and we feel it's a loss. Tonight, the shoe's on the other foot.

"Ten men was going to be a problem. But nine? Every one of the players responded properly.

"We're a wee bit fortunate tonight, let's be honest, our goalie had a couple of good saves and a lot of things have flashed round our goal.

"You've got to say nine men is a difficult scenario for anybody, we finished up with a draw, it feels like a win."

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