NEWPORT County AFC have now gone four games without a win after failing to see off 10-man Crawley Town at the People’s Pension Stadium.

However, the Exiles remain top of League Two with one fixture of 2020 remaining following Carlisle United’s capitulation against Bolton Wanderers.

The Cumbrians were all set to take over from County at the summit but let slip a 3-0 lead to only pick up a point in their home clash with mid-table Bolton.

County struck early against Crawley, Ryan Haynes netting inside five minutes, before Mickey Demetriou headed into his own net later in the first half.

The visitors’ cause was helped by the dismissal of Tarryn Allarakhia on the hour mark, but the Welsh club couldn’t make their numerical advantage count.

Having seen his side lose at home in the league for the first time this season the previous Saturday, County boss Michael Flynn made two changes to the visitors’ starting XI.

Midfielder Robbie Willmott and striker Jamie Proctor were dropped to the bench and replaced by Matty Dolan and Tristan Abrahams respectively.

Any fears of a hangover from the 4-2 loss to Oldham Athletic were quickly alleviated when Haynes gave Flynn’s men the lead five minutes in.

The goal owed much to the skill of Scott Twine, with the on-loan ace doing brilliantly to evade Jack Powell and then surge towards the Crawley box.

He found Haynes on the left and the wing-back cut inside before firing a right-footed effort into the far corner.

Aside from a booking for Town’s Jake Hessenthaler and comfortable save by Glenn Morris from an Abrahams shot, there wasn’t much more to get excited about in the opening quarter.

However, on 23 minutes, County scorer Haynes set off on a lung-bursting run from inside his own half.

Haynes continued his run into the box after finding Abrahams and then blasted the ball into the side netting following his teammate’s deflected shot had fallen to him.

Disaster then struck for the Exiles with 32 minutes on the clock.

Nothing looked on when a long ball was pumped into the County half, however, in trying to head back to keeper Nick Townsend, Demetriou only succeeded in finding his own net.

In fairness to the defender, he couldn’t have seen Townsend coming as far out of his goal as he did and leaving a gaping net behind him.

The Exiles gloveman required treatment on an injured right knee soon after the equaliser, and on the stroke of half-time the discomfort became too much for him to continue.

Wales squad member Tom King replaced Townsend as the latter hobbled his way to the dressing room.

There was a mini boost for County before the second half started as Sam Matthews replaced Crawley top scorer Max Watters.

The start of the second period was hard going with neither side creating anything in the final third.

Proceedings briefly came to life just before the hour mark when the hosts were reduced to 10 men, giving County a great chance to snatch all three points.

Allarakhia got his timing wrong when challenging Liam Shephard for a bouncing ball and ended up putting his studs into the defender’s midriff.

Referee David Rock deemed the Crawley man’s foot high enough to warrant a straight red.

Making the most of their man advantage proved difficult for the visitors, who lacked any real cutting edge all afternoon.

Flynn brought on Proctor, Willmott and Padraig Amond in a bid to inject some much-needed forward thrust into their game.

Haynes went close to a second four minutes from the end, only to fire just over bar after being fed by Twine.

Crawley keeper Glenn Morris was eventually called into action in time added on, diverting a Josh Sheehan attempt for a corner.

Crawley: Morris, Davies (Francomb 84), Tunnicliffe, Craig, Dallison-Lisbon, Nadesan (Hesketh 63), Powell, Hessenthaler, Allarakhia, Watters (Matthews 46), Nichols. Subs not used: McNerney, Ashford, Galach, Nelson.

County: Townsend (King 45+1), Shephard, Cooper, Demetriou, Haynes, Bennett (Willmott 74), Sheehan (capt), Dolan, Collins (Amond 74), Twine, Abrahams (Proctor 62). Subs not used: Baker, Devitt, Longe-King.

Referee: David Rock