A FINE late volley from Nathan Ralph saw Southend United secure a 1-1 draw at Crawley Town this afternoon.

The Shrimpers seemed to be heading for a sixth defeat in succession with Ashley Nadesan firing the hosts in front.

But Ralph’s impressive effort, five minutes from time, saw Mark Molesley’s side pick up their first point of the season.

Crawley wasted a good early chance to take the lead with Nadesan bursting into the right hand side of the penalty area before firing wide of the right post while under pressure from Tom Clifford.

Moments later, Blues right-back Elvis Bwomono did well to burst into the box before seeing his well struck shot parried to safety by Crawley goalkeeper Glenn Morris.

But, after surviving the scare, Crawley hit back and broke the deadlock with a well worked free-kick in the 21st minute as Jake Hessenthaler rolled a low dead ball delivery into the path of Nadesan who sent an accurate effort into the right hand corner of the net.

Crawley remained on top and soon wasted a golden opportunity to double their lead when Tyler Frost raced clean through on goal, only to see his effort well blocked by the advancing Mark Oxley.

In reply, Blues winger Ralph sliced an effort well wide of the target before Jason Demetriou saw a long range effort easily held by Morris.

Ralph then headed a brilliant free-kick from Clifford over the crossbar from close range in the closing action of the first half.

The second 45 minutes suffered a delayed start after Bwomono was sick on the pitch.

But, after the necessary safety checks had been taken, the match resumed with Nathan Ferguson having a well struck shot well held by Oxley.

Blues soon hit back and wasted an excellent opportunity to equalise in the 51st minute when Brandon Goodship played in Emile Acquah, only for the striker to see his shot saved by Morris.

Crawley then wasted another good chance of their own with an unmarked Frost firing over from 12 yards before the Shrimpers replied with Goodship having a low effort from the edge of the penalty area smartly saved by Morris.

Blues boss Mark Molesley responded by making two defensive changes in quick succession with Richard Taylor and Timothee Dieng entering the action in place for Clifford and Harry Lennon.

And, in the 85th minute, the Shrimpers bagged a late leveller as Egbri’s right wing cross picked out Ralph who netted with an flying volley from close range.

But the visitors were still forced to survive a late scare as Oxley did well to deny Ricardo German right at the death.