Reds made comfortable progress into round three of the Sussex Senior Cup against their Southern Combination League opponents on a wet night at the Roundstone Recreation Ground.
Goals in the first 14 minutes from Ashley Nadesan and Mason Bloomfield settled any nerves with Bloomfield netting his second before the break and David Sesay and Gyliano van Velzen adding further goals in the second half.
Gabriele Cioffi chose a strong XI with Joe McNerney returning after three months out with a back injury as part of a defensive three in a 3-5-2 formation.
Crawley’s only previous visit to EP came back in 1999 when, as a Southern League club managed by Cliff Cant, they were knocked out on penalties but there was never much danger of a repeat, although the home side worked hard throughout.
Reds profited from getting the ball into wide areas as often as they could and stretching the home defence. Brian Galach had already had a shot cleared off the line when Bloomfield’s cross from the right was swept home by Nadesan in the tenth minute.
Four minutes later Galach crossed from the left and Bloomfield stabbed the ball home at the second attempt from close range.
Bloomfield made it 3-0 on 27 minutes when he profited from Ashley Nathaniel-George’s cross and there were other chances for Crawley with Nathaniel-George hitting the bar and home keeper Lewis Boughton denying the same player and Gyliano van Velzen with good saves.
David Sesay made it 4-0 nine minutes into the second half with a low shot from the edge of the box but as the rain fell and the surface got slippier Reds found it harder to find a way through a packed home defence.
Michael Luyambula had little to do but he did pull off a superb save at full stretch to keep out Jack Bingham’s shot before the impressive van Velzen waltzed past three defenders before making it 5-0 with a powerful strike 20 minutes from time.
Cioffi gave Paolo Okoye a debut in place of Nadesan and with no injuries and valuable minutes for a lot of his players it was a profitable night for the Head Coach.
Reds: Luyambula; Sendels-White, McNerney, Sesay; van Velzen, Galach, Boadu, Allarakhia, Nathaniel-George; Bloomfield, Nadesan (sub: Okoye 66). Unused sub: Jones.
Pictured: Substitute Paolo Okoye goes close in the second half. Photo by James Boardman