Crawley Town 1 Tottenham Hotspur U-21s 1 (Crawley won 5-3 on penalties)
Yusuf Mersin’s dramatic save in a penalty shoot-out earned Crawley a deserved victory over Tottenham’s Under-23 side at the Broadfield Stadium in the Checkatrade Trophy.
Mersin’s save from Paris Maghoma ensured Reds won the shoot-out 5-3 after the sides had drawn 1-1 after 90 minutes.
Home debutant Bondz N’Gala scored Crawley’s goal on 59 minutes after Shayon Harrison had put Spurs ahead four minutes into the second half.
Tottenham’s youngsters came into the game winless in four after a disappointing start in this seasons Premier League 2, achieving two points from a possible 12.
But they nearly scored in the first minute when a sharp pass split the Crawley defence to put Harrison through on goal but his shot was deflected out for Spurs’ first corner of the game. Tottenham did control early possession but it was Crawley who created the second significant chance of the game when N’Gala’s header from a corner struck the inside of the post.
Panutche Camara directed a header inches wide from a floated cross by defender Joe McNerney minutes before Spurs’ dangerman Harrison turned sharply and unleashed a low driven shot from the edge of the area which was well saved by Mersin diving to his left.
Tarryn Allarakhia displayed some of his creativity on the right-wing with many of his drilled crosses resulting in Crawley corners. After 35 minutes he decided to go it alone but saw his fizzing shot from the edge of the area saved by Spurs’ keeper Brandon Austin.
McNerney had an impressive first-half, storming forward to join the attack on multiple occasions. Minutes before the half-time whistle he saw a strike from a similar position to the earlier effort by Allarakhia.
In the opening minute of the second half, half-time substitute Brian Galach flew past two Tottenham players before drifting wide and drilling a low effort wide just past the far post.
On 50 minutes, Spurs opened the scoring when Dannie Bulman’s back pass was intercepted by Harrison who drilled the ball past Mersin and in off the post.
But on 59 minutes Reds were awarded a free-kick on the edge of the area after some tricky footwork from Dominic Poleon. Lewis Young sent a clever, floated ball across the area which was met on the volley by N’Gala who drilled it past Austin into the roof of the net to make it 1-1.
Reds fans thought Crawley were onto a winner when a misplaced pass from the Spurs defence fell to Poleon who was put one on one with the goalkeeper, but his effort was hit straight at Austin who was able to parry away.
So down to penalties and Reds produced an immaculate set of five through Young, Poleon, Mark Randall, Palmer and another debutant, David Sesay, after Mersin plunged to his right to push away away Maghoma’s spot kick.
The Reds will face Portsmouth, who beat Gillingham 4-0 tonight, next in this competition at the Broadfield Stadium on Tuesday 9th of October.
Crawley Town: Mersin, Young, N’Gala, McNerney, Maguire; Allarakhia (sub: Palmer 80’), Randall, Bulman (sub: Sesay 71’), Nathaniel-George (sub: Galach 46’); Poleon, Camara.