Crawley couldn’t claim a seventh Championship scalp in the last three years but they have a great account of themselves before bowing out of the Capital One Cup at Carrow Road on Tuesday night.
Behind to goals from Cameron Jerome and Josh Murphy after 48 minutes, they got a route back into the game through Carlos Cuellar’s own goal six minutes later.
Reds pushed for an equaliser but Murphy sealed Norwich’s progress with his second in stoppage time moments after the visitors had vehement claims for a penalty turned down by referee Darren Deadman.
Reds were backed by over 300 fans who made plenty of noise from their corner of the Jarrold Stand and several times in the first half they were close to celebrating a goal.
Gwion Edwards was denied by an excellent block from Canaries’ ‘keeper Declan Rudd in just the third minute and later in the half Rudd made an even better save, standing up until the last moment before parrying Izale McLeod’s drive after the striker had outpaced Cuellar.
The lively Lewis Young saw his shot from the edge of the box deflected wide for one of several first-half corners which Reds couldn’t profit from and McLeod shot onto the roof of the net from 20 yards after Bobson Bawling teed him up.
Crawley were lively when they broke forward and their pace often worried City’s defenders but it was Norwich who made the breakthrough in the 14th minute.
Right-back Steven Whittaker let fly from 20 yards and although Brian Jensen made the save he couldn’t hold onto the ball and JEROME couldn’t miss, marking his Norwich debut with a tap in.
Apart from that the hosts were restricted to efforts from outside the box but Jensen made two good saves from the impressive Jacob Murphy and when Norwich did get in behind Jamar Loza failed to keep Russell Martin’s right-wing cross.
The hosts must have felt they had the tie in the bag when they doubled their lead in the 48th minute. Josh MURPHY showed fantastic pace to get past Lanre Oyebanjo and there was plenty to admire in his finish too, a low drive that flashed past Jensen into the far corner.
It looked like the end for Reds but they were gifted a way back in six minutes later when CUELLAR, under pressure from McLeod, sliced Conor Henderson’s left-wing cross over the helpless Rudd and into the top corner.
John Gregory made two changes with Gavin Tomlin and Emmet O’Connor coming on and after Norwich sub Reece Hall-Johnson had side-footed the ball straight into the arms of the grateful Jensen the visitors broke but O’Connor’s cross from an inviting position on the right was cleared by Norwich.
Reds thought they had equalised in the last minute of normal time. McFadden cleared McLeod’s header off the line amid protests that he had used his hand. The corner dropped to Tomlin whose shot on the turn was blocked by Rudd at point-blank range.
As the visitors pushed forward in search of an equaliser, Reece-Johnson broke and hit the bar with a powerful drive before Murphy sealed his side’s progress with a powerful finish at the end of a counter-attack.
It was a harsh finale after a pulsating game where Reds gave an excellent account of themselves.
Crawley: Jensen, Oyebanjo, Leacock, Walsh, Dickson, Edwards, Henderson, Smith, Bawling (O’Connor 63), Young (Tomlin 50), McLeod. Unused subs: Bradley, Banya, Rose, Harrold.