Crawley Town 1, Norwich City 0
Bez Lubala was the toast of Crawley after his first-half goal earned Reds their first Premier League scalp.
The midfielder scored his fifth goal of the season as Reds knocked Norwich City out of the Carabao Cup to reach the third round for the first time in their history.
On an unforgettable night at The People’s Pension Stadium, Crawley had to dig deep at times and Norwich twice struck the bar. But Reds always looked a threat on the break and Ollie Palmer came close to a second midway through the second half.
There were 11 minutes of stoppage time as well as the 90 minutes but Reds’ resilience and fitness was another impressive facet of a display which earned Gabriele Cioffi and the players a standing ovation at the end of a memorable night.
Reds made three changes to the side which won 3-2 at Leyton Orient with Michael Luyambula making his home debut in goal and there were recalls for Palmer and David Sesay.
Norwich, the first Premier League club to visit Crawley since 2014, made 11 changes to the side beaten by Chelsea and they nearly made the perfect start when Kenny McLean’s shot was blocked by Luyambula’s legs with less than a minute gone. The keeper was called into action again in the fourth minute to parry Phillip Heise’s angled effort as Reds struggled initially to get a toe hold in the contest.
Luyambula made a more comfortable save from McLean’s header before Reds created their first decent chance on 16 minutes. Lubala stretched the Canaries down their right and his cross found Doherty whose header flashed wide. Reece Grego-Cox picked up the loose ball and his cross picked out Palmer, whose header went wide.
But a minute later Reds broke the deadlock. Lubala fired a low shot from the corner of the box and it seemed to take a deflection off Sam Byram and past the helpless Ralf Fahrmann in the Norwich goal.
The Canaries had another problem when Timm Klose needed lengthy treatment after a challenge with Panutche Camara. He was replaced by Ben Godfrey and shortly afterwards Mario Vrancic was booked for a late challenge on skipper Dannie Bulman. Camara failed to recover from the incident involving Klose and he was replaced on 34 minutes by Filipe Morais.
Norwich went close to levelling three minutes later. Patrick Roberts outfoxed two defenders inside the box to create space for a shot across Luyambula which kissed the far post and flew out for a throw to Crawley.
Reds finished the half – which included six minutes of stoppage time – strongly and were on the front foot again at the start of the second, with Morais firing a free kick from 30 yards over and Palmer’s aerial strength causing Fahrmann to punch away unconvincingly.
Luyambula was tested on 57 minutes when Roberts set up Ibrahim Amadou for a snap shot which the keeper pushed aside for a corner. Norwich appeals for a foul on Byram in the melee that followed the corner fell on deaf ears.
It was end to end stuff. Grego-Cox found Sesay on the edge of the box and his volley was blocked for a corner then Norwich came desperately close to scoring. Some untidy defending enabled Emiliano Buendia, who had just come on as substitute, to crash a shot off the underside of the bar before Crawley scrambled it clear.
It was end to end stuff and on 67 minutes only Fahrmann’s reflexes denied Palmer a goal. The striker found himself running at Ibrahim Amadou and found a yard to get in a shot which the German keeper kept out with his outstretched leg.
With 13 minutes to go Nathan Ferguson wasn’t far away with a curling effort that went just past the right-hand post and as the game entered its last ten minutes frustration got the better of Canaries’ coach Daniel Farke who was booked after a verbal altercation in front of the Crawley dugout.
Norwich pushed forward in the closing stages and there was a late scare when Mario Vrancic headed wide from a corner, but Crawley stood firm through five minutes of stoppage time before celebrating a famous win in front of fans bouncing with delight on three sides of the stadium.
Reds: Luyambula; Sesay (Francomb 86), Dallison, Tunnicliffe, Doherty; Grego-Cox, Ferguson, Bulman, Lubala, Camara (Morais 28), Palmer. Unused subs: Morris, Galach, Nathaniel-George, Young, Nadesan.