Hastings United 0, Crawley Town 2
Reds made comfortable progress into the quarter-finals of the Parafix Sussex Senior Cup with victory over Hastings United at a chilly Pilot Field on Monday night.
Crawley had lost their two previous meetings with the Bostik League side in the competition but there was never too much danger of a repeat after Josh Lelan and Ibrahim Meite put them into a 2-0 lead at the break.
Yusuf Mersin was probably the busier keeper in the second half when Crawley struggled to impose themselves as they had before the break.
But it was a case of job done and now we can look forward to facing Eastbourne Borough on the Conference South club’s 3G pitch sometime in the new year.
None of the starting XI had figured at Crewe on Saturday but Reds’ understudies took just five minutes to open the scoring when Lelan met Dennon Lewis’s left-wing corner with a glancing header inside the right-hand post.
The visitors pressed for more goals with Panutche Camara and Meite going close before the lead was doubled on 37 minutes. Camara played the ball between his marker’s legs and unselfishly teed up Meite for a tap-in from two yards.
Lewis should have made it three just after the break when he broke into the box, but his goalbound effort was deflected wide.
Addison Garnett replaced Lelan just before the hour with Dannie Bulman dropping back to sweeper.
Hastings had their best spell with Mersin called into action three times, most impressively when he kept out Sam Cruttwell’s well-struck shot from 25 yards at full stretch.
He also kept out decent strikes from Davide Rodari and Callum Davies while Moussa Sanoh squandered a good chance late on when he beat two defenders only to find the side netting with only keeper Charlie Horlick to beat.
In truth it wasn’t a game that will live long in the memory but Reds did a professional job and are now two wins away from a return visit to the Amex in the Senior Cup final, although Eastbourne – especially on a surface unfamiliar to Crawley – will be a tough nut to crack in the next round.
Reds: Mersin; Tajbakhsh, Lelan (sub: Garnett 58), Doherty, Djalo; Clifford, Bulman; Lewis, Camara, Sanoh; Meite. Unused subs: Connolly, Yorwerth, Verheydt, Morris.
Pictured: Josh Lelan stoops to head in Crawley's first goal in Monday's Senior Cup win over Hastings United. Photo by James Boardman (Telephoto Images)