Walsh sent off as understrength side lose 6-1 to Whitehawk
Reds had skipper Joe Walsh sent off in the second half as they crashed out of the Sussex Senior Cup at the quarter-final stage.
Ambitious Whitehawk, who are chasing promotion to the Conference, were too strong for a Reds’ side containing only two players who started last Saturday’s League One game against MK Dons as Sam Deering completed a second half hat-trick either side of Walsh’s dismissal after an off-the-ball incident spotted by the assistant referee.
With eight players – Brian Jensen, Ryan Dickson, Dean Leacock, Conor Henderson, Josh Simpson, Gavin Tomlin, Gwion Edwards and Bradley Isaacs - absent through injury or illness, manager Dean Saunders gave an opportunity to some of the fringe players in his squad. He also included two trialists: goalkeeper Evandro Rachoni De Lima and Australian striker Matt Fletcher, whose most recent club was Luton Town.
Both started along with Emmett O’Connor, Ryan Richefond, Bobson Bawling and Charles Banya. Matt Harrold, after his heroics in goal against MK Dons on Saturday, got a start up front.
There was a great reception from the travelling fans for ex-Red Sergio Torres who found himself clattered in the seventh minute with Bradley’s late challenge earning him a booking.
After a scrappy start Reds took a 14th minute lead. Harrold won the ball in midfield, waited for support and then played YOUNG in down the inside right channel and he drilled a low shot into the far corner of Craig Ross’s goal.
Hawks responded eight minutes later. De Lima did well to parry Nick Arnold’s powerful drive from distance but ROBINSON reacted first to lash the loose ball into the roof of the net.
The home side then took a 27th minute lead. De Lima was left exposed by Ryan Richefond’s under-hit back pass, Deering nipped in and squared the to Sam GARGAN who tapped home.
Whitehawk had the upper hand at that stage but Reds went close to equalising three minutes before half-time when Harrold met Banya’s left-wing cross with a firm header which went inches over.
Instead, the home side stretched their lead two minutes after the time. De Lima made a hash of trying to punch away Deering’s corner from the right and defender Osei SANKOFA fired in from close range.
It got worse for Crawley on 62 minutes when Walsh was shown a straight red after a tussle off the ball with Kissock which was spotted by the assistant referee. DEERING sent De Lima the wrong way from the resultant penalty to make it 4-1.
Five minutes later a simple angled ball over the top found DEERING in space and he scored his second with an angled drive across De Lima.
DEERING completed his hat-trick on 76 minutes after De Lima had brought down substitute Sergio Makofo and the Hawks’ wide man buried his second penalty into the bottom corner.
By then Jimmy Smith had replaced Fletcher although there was little he could do as Whitehawk eased comfortably into the semi-finals.
Reds: De Lima, Bawling, Bradley, Walsh, Richefond, O’Connor, Anderson, Young, Banya, Harrold, Fletcher (Smith 72).
Whitehawk: Ross, Arnold, Mills, Ijaha (Abdulla 69), Sankofa, Cadmore, Kissock (Makofo 66), Torres (Guyonner 75), Robinson, Gargan, Deering. Subs: Mills, Kujabi.
Referee: David Spain