Crawley Town 1 Gillingham 2
Reds were on the wrong end of a second half comeback by ten-man Gillingham at the Checkatrade.com Stadium as Crawley exited the Johnstone Paint Trophy at the quarter-final stage.
Izale McLeod’s 21st minute penalty deservedly put the Reds 1-0 up after good early pressure from the home side.
Joe Martin was dismissed in the second half for Gills after raising his hands following a tussle with McLeod.
However the ten men seemed seemed to be spurred on by the red card and levelled the scores when McGlashan’s low effort found the corner of the goal on the 78th minute after Mat Sadler failed to clear his lines.
The goal inspired Gillingham as they scored the winner three minutes from time when Doug Loft’s cross from the right-hand side went straight into the net.
John Gregory made three changes from the side that lost 1-0 on Saturday. Sonny Bradley, Gavin Tomlin and Bobson Bawling came in for Josh Simpson, Matt Harrold and the suspended Dean Leacock.
With Harrold ruled out through injury, Tomlin partnered McLeod up front as Reds lined up 3-5-2 with Bradley, Walsh and Oyebanjo in defence with Bawling and Dickson acting as wing-backs.
Both sides came into the match looking to put behind an inconsistent league campaign and it was the Reds who started the brighter.
Michael Doughty and Jimmy Smith battle for the ball during the first half
An early flurry of Crawley corners were cleared Jimmy Smith came closest to opening the scoring as he fired over the bar from 20-yards out after space opened up for him.
The Reds, spurred on by a noisy Bruce Winfield Terrace, once again looked the side most likely to open the scoring after a neat interchange in midfield. Keith Keane linked up well with Edwards who found McLeod in space on the right hand side, however the striker’s shot was just wide.
With the Reds dominating possession the only thing missing was the opening goal, but the Reds capitalised on their dominant spell to open the scoring through a 21st minute penalty.
Smith found Edwards on the edge of the box and as the Welshman took the ball into the area where he was clearly tripped by Loft with referee Darren Sheldrake pointing to the spot.
Top scorer McLEOD stepped up confidently to convert the spot kick into the bottom right hand corner for his eighth of the season and the opening goal of the night.
Gillingham went in search of an instant equaliser and ex-Red Michael Doughty’s pass found Antonio German on the edge of the box and his shot on the turn was just wide of the left-hand post.
Reds kept possession well as they aimed to see through to half-time without conceding, however a fine piece of skill by Luke Norris nearly bought the leveller just before the break.
Norris took down a cross from the left on his chest before volleying just wide of Jamie Ashdown’s far post.
With a solid 45 minutes under their belt Reds soaked up early second half before creating a good chance of their own when Tomlin was found by McLeod on the left hand side but the striker couldn’t get his shot off.
Following a quiet spell of play the game was bought to life a by a controversial incident in the 66th minute.
Martin and McLeod clashed on the right hand side with Martin appearing to strike McLeod leaving the referee with no choice but to send the Gills man off.
The dismissal sparked Gills into life with the visitors levelling the scores just four minutes after the red card.
Substitute McGlashan cut in unchallenged from the right-hand side, advancing into the box before firing into the bottom corner with a left-footed shot from 12-yards out.
Bradley Dack’s substitution seemed an inspired one as he set up another Gillingham attack when a low ball in from the left was met at the back post by McGLASHAN but he somehow fired over with the goal gaping.
Gillingham played their best football with one less man in the final ten minutes and another attack saw Brennan Dickenson fire wide.
With penalties seemingly looming, three minutes from time it was the team with ten men who scored the winner.
Skipper LOFT picked the ball up from a throw-in and his dangerous cross into the area evaded everyone before going straight into the net.
Reds were unable to create one last chance at the death and had to reflect on a second Cup exit in the space of four days.