Striker sinks Ipswich in extra time of Capital One Cup
Izale McLeod was Reds’ hero for the second successive game as John Gregory’s side overcame Championship Ipswich Town in the first round of the Capital One Cup.
McLeod pounced eight minutes from the end of extra time to settle a rollicking cup tie which Reds dominated the more the game went on.
It means Crawley go into the second round draw for the first time since 2012 and will be hoping to draw one of the big Premier League clubs who enter the competition at the next stage.
It was a gutsy effort by the home side in front of a boisterous 3,043 crowd and in the end no more than they deserved.
John Gregory made two changes to Saturday’s starting line-up. Sonny Bradley came in for his debut at left-back with Ryan Dickson dropping to the bench and Bobson Bawling, who came off the bench in the 1-0 win at Barnsley on Saturday, got his first start with Josh Simpson joining Gavin Tomlin and Matt Harrold on the sidelines through injury.
Bawling lined up on the right of midfield with Lewis Young in behind McLeod, who had the first decent chance on ten minutes – a snap shot from 20 yards which flew a yard wide of the left-hand upright.
Both teams looked lively in the early staged but Ipswich should have gone in front on 13 minutes. Striker Frank Nouble did the hard bit superbly, controlling a long ball and flicking it over Joe Walsh only to fire his volley from 10 yards over the bar.
Ipswich pair Kevin Bru and Alex Henshall were booked, the latter for a trip on Lanre Oyebanjo who made some excellent breaks from right-back.
One surge ended with an off-balance shot wide before Ipswich came back into it. Luke Chambers lost his marker at a corner but headed into the side netting before Nouble squandered another great chance on 22 minutes when Henshall’s cross found him unmarked six yards out but once again he failed to test Brian Jensen.
Gwion Edwards threatened for Reds with a shot from a tight angle which was deflected into the side netting and a goalless half ended with Conor Henderson going into the book for handball at a free kick.
Jensen was the first keeper into action after the break when he made a comfortable save from Nouble’s shot. The boss then made a change with Young replaced by Banya.
Paul Taylor showed good quality for the visitors when he stepped past two challenges on the edge of the box to set up a shooting opportunity but his right-foot effort flew wide of the upright. Ipswich were now in control and moments later Elliot Hewitt made a great break down the left and sent over an inviting cross which just eluded two team-mates in the six-yard box. Taylor then saw his fiercely struck shot beaten away by Jensen before Reds cleared their lines.
JG made another change on 62 minutes with Dickson replacing Bawling and Edwards moving to the right of midfield. His first contribution after switching flanks was to produce a terrific turn and cross which Bartosz Bialkowski turned over the crossbar.
As the game entered its closing stages both sides went for it. McLeod found himself in a good position 30 yards out after the visitors gave the ball away but his shot on the turn failed to trouble Bialkowski while at the other end sub Balint Bajner hit a thunderbolt from the edge of the box which Jensen pushed away.
Reds had a great chance to break the deadlock with five minutes left when Edwards found space 15 yards out after Dickson had put over another excellent cross, but he sliced his shot wide.
Ipswich thought they’d won it in the 90th minute when young substitute Teddy Bishop let fly from 30 yards and his effort came back off the underside of the bar with Nouble unable to force home the loose ball.
Matt Clarke joined Edwards in the book and at the start of stoppage time there were chances at both ends. Bialkowski saved McLeod’s shot at full stretch and then Ipswich broke and Taylor’s effort was cleared by the home defence.
Into extra time and Emmett O’Connor replaced Conor Henderson on 93 minutes as Reds enjoyed the better of things in the first period. Bradley got himself into a good position but couldn’t keep his effort on target then Bialkowski came out to clear as McLeod raced onto Banya’s pass. Smith then whipped a great free kick into the danger area that only needed a touch as it flashed across the face of goal.
The deadlock was finally broken in the 112th minute. A corner was cleared to Oyebanjo who lofted it back into the box. O’Connor had a stab at it and when the ball broke off an Ipswich defender McLeod steered it home with his right foot.
Reds had been the better side in extra time and saw out the remainder of the game comfortably enough to claim a prized scalp.
: Jensen; Oyebanjo, Leacock, Walsh, Bradley; Bawling (Dickson 62), Smith, Henderson (O'Connor 93), Edwards; Young (Banya 54); McLeod.Reds