Jonathan Forte's tap-in earned Crawley a point against their fellow promotion hopefuls and ensured wasteful Notts County's poor home run continued.
Neal Bishop's calm close-range finish after a superb run and pass by Andre Boucaud put the hosts ahead.
Crawley levelled when the impressive Nicky Adams picked out Forte.
Both sides struggled to create chances after the interval but Notts substitute Lee Hughes headed a good chance wide and Yoann Arquin went close late on.
Notts, who have now only won three of their nine home League One games this season, dominated possession and territory before the break, but were left to rue their failure to take their chances as the visitors hit back on the stroke of half-time.
Bishop's early goal, after a fine 20-yard run and stunning flicked pass by Boucaud, set the platform for an impressive attacking display as Crawley struggled to cope with the hosts' pace, movement and trickery.
Alan Judge and Boucaud controlled the game from the centre of the park and Jamal Campbell-Ryce and Francois Zoko were a constant threat out wide.
But Yoann Arquin wasted two good headed opportunities - the second a free header from six yards which he powered over the bar - and also had a decent penalty claim turned down when he appeared to be bundled over by keeper Paul Jones.
Gary Liddle also shot narrowly wide but Crawley settled in the latter stages of the first period and looked increasingly threatening with their limited possession against an unconvincing home defence.
Adams was Crawley's standout player and his influence was the main reason for their fightback.
The midfielder had a decent shot saved by Bartosz Bialkowski and his free-kick also saw the big keeper produce a fine save to stop Billy Clarke's header.
And it was Adams' clever run and astute pass that allowed Forte to tap home the leveller against his former club in the final minute of the first half.
The visitors improved after the interval but a much more even contest became scrappy and disjointed and neither side were able to create many clearcut opportunities.
Magpies fans' frustrations mounted with the main focus of their anger being referee Andy Haines.
Arquin and Lee Hughes both went close late on but Crawley were able to hold on without too many scares to stay one point ahead of Notts in fourth place in the table.
VIEW FROM THE DRESSING ROOM
Notts County manager Keith Curle told BBC Radio Nottingham:
"I think we created enough chances to win two games to be honest. I think we looked a constant threat.
"We know on another day we might not create as many chances but we'd be ruthless in front of goal.
"We didn't quite have that cutting edge but it's coming. It's a work in progress."
Crawley manager Richie Barker told BBC Sussex:
"As the game went on, I asked myself 'do we take the point?' Yes, we missed chances but the point does get us back on track.
"We felt that we could get at them. But I'm amazed it finished 1-1, it could have been 4-4.
"I'm sure it was an enjoyable game to watch. There are are few tired bodies out there. It has been a difficult week with three away trips, so we need to get plenty of rest and move on."
Full Time The final whistle is blown by the referee.
The ball is crossed by Mat Sadler.
The ball is crossed by Alan Judge, save made by Paul Jones.
Josh Simpson fouled by Yoann Arquin, the ref awards a free kick. Paul Jones takes the free kick.
Yoann Arquin takes a shot. Blocked by Kyle McFadzean.
Bartosz Bialkowski restarts play with the free kick.
Substitution Sergio Torres replaces Billy Clarke.
Nathan Byrne fouled by Enoch Showunmi, the ref awards a free kick. Nathan Byrne takes the direct free kick. Unfair challenge on Yoann Arquin by Dannie Bulman results in a free kick.
Substitution Enoch Showunmi comes on in place of Jamal Campbell-Ryce.
Kyle McFadzean takes a shot. Blocked by Lee Hughes. Short corner taken by Nicky Adams from the right by-line. Nicky Adams produces a cross, Damion Stewart manages to make a clearance.
Foul by Lee Hughes on Mike Jones, free kick awarded. Billy Clarke takes the free kick.
Substitution Gary Alexander replaces Jonathan Forte.
Free kick awarded for a foul by Yoann Arquin on Nathan Byrne. Paul Jones takes the direct free kick.
Jamal Campbell-Ryce gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Kyle McFadzean. Free kick taken by Paul Jones.
Centre by Alan Judge, clearance made by Dannie Bulman. Corner taken by Alan Judge from the left by-line. Yoann Arquin takes a shot. Paul Jones makes a save.
The ball is delivered by Jeff Hughes, Lee Hughes has a headed effort at goal from close in which goes wide left of the goal.
Yoann Arquin produces a cross, Kyle McFadzean makes a clearance.
Dean Leacock gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Jonathan Forte. Direct free kick taken by Kyle McFadzean. Free kick awarded for a foul by Yoann Arquin on Kyle McFadzean. Direct free kick taken by Paul Jones.
Substitution Lee Hughes is brought on as a substitute for Francois Zoko.
Nicky Adams sends in a cross.
Nicky Adams delivers the ball, Gary Liddle manages to make a clearance.
The official flags Yoann Arquin offside. Paul Jones takes the indirect free kick.
Francois Zoko is caught offside. Free kick taken by Paul Jones.
Jonathan Forte takes a shot. Blocked by Gary Liddle.
A cross is delivered by Nathan Byrne, save made by Bartosz Bialkowski.
The ball is delivered by Jonathan Forte, clearance by Damion Stewart.
Booking Booking for Kyle McFadzean for dissent.
Yoann Arquin takes a shot. Save by Paul Jones.
Unfair challenge on Nathan Byrne by Francois Zoko results in a free kick. Free kick taken by Paul Jones.
Jeff Hughes crosses the ball, blocked by Dannie Bulman.
Free kick taken by Kyle McFadzean.
Booking Andre Boucaud is shown a yellow card for time wasting.
Handball by Andre Boucaud.
Unfair challenge on Dannie Bulman by Yoann Arquin results in a free kick. Dannie Bulman takes the free kick.
Alan Judge takes a inswinging corner from the left by-line to the near post, clearance made by Kyle McFadzean.
The second half has started.
45:00 +2:35 Half time
Half Time The ref blows to signal half-time.
Free kick taken by Paul Jones.
45:00 +1:57 Booking
Booking The referee cautions Jamal Campbell-Ryce for dissent.
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Josh Simpson by Neal Bishop.
Nicky Adams provided the assist for the goal. Clearance made by Jeff Hughes.
44:16 Goal scored
Goal! - Jonathan Forte - Notts Co 1 - 1 Crawley Jonathan Forte scores a goal from inside the six-yard box to the bottom right corner of the goal. Notts County 1-1 Crawley Town.
Free kick awarded for a foul by Dean Leacock on Josh Simpson. The ball is sent over by Nicky Adams, Billy Clarke takes a shot. Save by Bartosz Bialkowski. Nicky Adams takes the outswinging corner,
Nicky Adams crosses the ball, Gary Liddle makes a clearance. Centre by Jamal Campbell-Ryce, Claude Davis manages to make a clearance.
Free kick awarded for a foul by Neal Bishop on Kyle McFadzean. Paul Jones restarts play with the free kick.
The ball is crossed by Jamal Campbell-Ryce, Kyle McFadzean manages to make a clearance.
Unfair challenge on Jonathan Forte by Jeff Hughes results in a free kick. Shot on goal comes in from Nicky Adams from the free kick.
Gary Liddle produces a right-footed shot from the edge of the box and misses to the left of the target.
Centre by Alan Judge, Paul Jones makes a save.
The ball is swung over by Billy Clarke, Jamal Campbell-Ryce makes a clearance.
Nicky Adams crosses the ball, Yoann Arquin manages to make a clearance.
Corner taken short by Nicky Adams.
Long range shot from Alan Judge misses to the left of the goal.
Yoann Arquin takes a shot. Save made by Paul Jones.
Nicky Adams takes a shot. Bartosz Bialkowski makes a save.
The ball is sent over by Francois Zoko, Mat Sadler manages to make a clearance.
Effort from outside the penalty box by Nicky Adams goes wide left of the target.
Josh Simpson produces a right-footed shot from just outside the penalty area that goes harmlessly over the target.
The referee blows for offside against Yoann Arquin. Paul Jones takes the free kick.
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Josh Simpson by Andre Boucaud. Kyle McFadzean takes the free kick.
The ball is sent over by Jamal Campbell-Ryce, Header on goal by Yoann Arquin from inside the box goes harmlessly over the target.
Corner taken by Nicky Adams from the left by-line played to the near post, Yoann Arquin makes a clearance. Shot from a long way out by Mike Jones goes wide of the left-hand upright.
The ball is sent over by Jamal Campbell-Ryce, clearance by Kyle McFadzean. Outswinging corner taken by Alan Judge from the right by-line played to the near post, Effort from close range by Jeff Hughes goes wide left of the target.
Jamal Campbell-Ryce takes a shot. Save made by Paul Jones. Andre Boucaud has an effort at goal from just outside the area which goes wide of the left-hand post.
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Neal Bishop by Josh Simpson. Bartosz Bialkowski restarts play with the free kick.
The assist for the goal came from Jamal Campbell-Ryce.
11:13 Goal scored
Goal! - Neal Bishop - Notts Co 1 - 0 Crawley Neal Bishop finds the back of the net with a goal from inside the penalty area to the bottom left corner of the goal. Notts County 1-0 Crawley Town.
Jamal Campbell-Ryce crosses the ball, Mat Sadler gets a block in. Corner taken by Alan Judge played to the near post, clearance made by Dannie Bulman.
Jamal Campbell-Ryce sends in a cross, Headed effort from inside the area by Yoann Arquin misses to the right of the target.
Centre by Nicky Adams.
A cross is delivered by Jeff Hughes, clearance made by Kyle McFadzean.
Yoann Arquin gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Kyle McFadzean. Free kick taken by Kyle McFadzean.
Jonathan Forte takes a shot. Save by Bartosz Bialkowski.
Centre by Jonathan Forte, save by Bartosz Bialkowski.
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