Two goals in the last eight minutes knocked Crawley out of the FA Cup as Bristol Rovers won 2-1 at The Checkatrade.com Stadium on Wednesday night.
Jamie Proctor headed Reds in front after 13 minutes, nodding home from a Nicky Adams cross. Reds dominated for much of the first half but couldn’t find a second goal and it was a different story in the second period.
Elliot Richards levelled the scores in the 83rd minute before a stoppage time winner from John Joe O’Toole means Rovers travel to Birmingham in the third round. Reds have now lost in all three cup competitions to League Two clubs, having been in front in all three defeats.
John Gregory named an unchanged team from the victory over Notts County and with loan signing Matt Tubbs cup-tied it was a good opportunity for both Emile Sinclair and Jamie to show John Gregory their goalscoring abilities and it took just 13 minutes for one of them to break the deadlock.
Adams took a pass from Andy Drury to launch a counter attack and from the right-hand side he delivered a peach of a cross onto the head of PROCTOR at the back post and the striker couldn’t miss from six yards out.
Reds gained confidence from the early goal and went on search for a second and Mike Jones nearly slammed home after a goalmouth scramble but he saw his effort blocked.
Whilst Crawley were dominating at this stage Rovers missed a good chance to level the scores. An Elliot Richards’ delivery was met at the back post by David Clarkson but Paul Jones smothered his shot.
Rovers continued to press and O’Toole should have done better with an effort from 10 yards out following Tom Lockyer’s cross.
At the half-time break it was the first time Crawley had lead at home at the interval since September.
The visitors were denied by Paul Jones just two minutes into the second half when Richards met a corner with a firm header, but the Crawley goalkeeper stayed alert to turn it away.
Sinclair had Crawley’s best chance by way of a response but his effort was over the bar.
John Ward threw on two attacking players and Rovers deservedly levelled the scores in the 83rd minute following a goalmouth scramble.
Reds failed to clear their lines and Paul Jones’s punch fell kindly on the half-volley to Richards who volleyed into the net from just outside the box.
Rovers gained confidence from their equaliser and continued to press for a winner and Lee Brown’s free-kick from the edge of the area was deflected behind for a corner while an overhead kick from Richards hit the inside of the post and bounced into James’ grateful arms.
But the visitors were rewarded with a deserved winning goal in stoppage time.
Richards’ shot from the left-hand side was palmed away by Jones and O’Toole was there six-yards out to ram home the rebound.
Reds had one more chance but Proctor headed narrowly wide and the visitors could celebrate.