Oyebanjo and Bradley also on target in 5-1 Senior Cup win
It was a night of firsts at the Checkatrade.com Stadium as Reds made smooth progress into the last eight of the Sussex Senior Cup.
Shaun Miller scored a hat-trick on his full debut and there was a first goal for the club for Lanre Oyebanjo as Reds led 4-0 at the break.
Sonny Bradley then opened his account in the second period to make it 5-1 after Bailo Camara had scored a consolation for United.
The visitors acquitted themselves well and worked tirelessly all over the pitch, although Crawley could have scored more goals had they shown a bit more composure in the visitors’ box.
In fact it was the County League side who created the first chance on eight minutes when Lucas Mann latched onto a mistake by Dean Leacock but Brian Jensen blocked his close-range shot.
That acted as a wake-up call for Reds who went ahead a minute later when Oyebanjo, playing on the right of a five-man midfield, cut inside to fire past Adam Sargent fro 20 yards.
Lanre Oyebanjo scores his first goal in a Crawley shirt
Jimmy Smith side-footed wide of goal twice in as many minutes before Miller opened his account with a simple close-range header at the far post from Lewis Young’s left-wing cross.
Mann tested Jensen at the other end when the keeper turned his 20-yard drive, which was struck with some power over the bar.
But Miller made it 3-0 after 33 minutes, side-footing past Sargent from Gavin Tomlin’s right wing cross.
And the Coventry loanee completed his hat-trick four minutes later, volleying the loose ball past Sargent after the keeper had blocked Smith’s shot.
Reds brought on Charles Banya for Smith at the break and continued to create chances.
Bradley missed a free header from Conor Henderson’s cross on 56 minutes then Tomlin had three opportunities in the space of ten minutes. He fired two of them just wide and saw Sargent make a great save at point-blank range from the other.
By then Bobson Bawling had replaced Leacock with Oyebanjo switching to central defence.
Banya side-footed Young’s cross over as Reds were again let down by poor finishing and it was the visitors who got the next goal with ten minutes to go when Camara came in off the left-wing to side-foot home from 15 yards.
Reds finally got a second-half goal on 82 minutes, Bradley meeting Henderson’s corner with a powerful side-foot finish from ten yards.
Miller rattled the underside of the bar in stoppage time and he will certainly have benefitted from the run-out.
Reds: Jensen, Oyebanjo, Bradley, Leacock (sub: Bawling 60), Walsh, Smith (Banya 45), Henderson, Elliott, Young, Miller, Tomlin (Richefond 76). Unused sub: Isaacs.