The Reds took on a strongly fielded AFC Bournemouth team in the fourth round of the Emirates FA Cup. A slightly changed Reds eleven as Manny Adebowale came in at right-back and Joe McNerney started at centre half.
It was a spirited start from the hosts, former England international Jack Wilshire moving the ball around nicely in the midfield. Philip Billing had the first shot of the game from the edge of the box, Glenn Morris able to parry away. Billing again had a chance to shoot inside the box, this time Jack Powell blocking well.
Billing was involved again from the resulting corner, the midfielder used his height well as his header bounced off of the post and away to safety. Crawley then had a chance of their own as Tom Nichols slid in Ashley Nadesan to the right-hand side of the box. Nadesan took the ball in his stride before striking at goal, Asmir Begovic saving well down to his right to deny an opener for the Reds.
The Reds had another chance to strike at goal in the 18th minute, Tom Nichols winning a free-kick 25-yards from goal. Jack Powell floated the ball into the box, Jordan Tunnicliffe won the first header which unfortunately fell to the feet of an AFC Bournemouth player who was on hand to clear to safety.
David Brooks the curled a shot towards goal from inside the box, the effort drifted just wide of the target. Jordan Tunnicliffe was forced off for several minutes after suffering a nasty bang to the head, leaving the defender with blood pouring from his right eye.
Despite the Reds making chances it was the host’s that took the lead. Jack Wilshire put Bournemouth one to the good with a delightful effort from the edge of the box. The former Arsenal man curled a neat shot from the edge of the box into the bottom right corner well beyond the reach of Morris to give his side the lead in the 24th minute.
The Reds made a change following the opening goal, Josh Wright replacing Nicholas Tsaroulla. Crawley then had a chance to equalise, Sam Matthews delivering a free-kick to the far post where McNerney headed down, Dallison fired the ball across goal with real pace, however, there was no one in a white shirt to turn the ball into the back of the net.
Bournemouth started putting some tidy sequences together inside the Crawley half, Josh King linked up well with Arnaut Danjuma before squaring across goal, Josh Wright on hand to clear for a corner.
Glenn Morris came to the rescue in the opening exchanges of the second half, Jack Wilshire looking to nudge home inside the six-yard box, Morris somehow getting across in time to parry away. Morris then saving from King as the striker fired at goal from the edge of the penalty area.
The Reds so nearly found an equaliser through Tom Nichols after a howler from Begovic. Nadesan closed down Begovic who had the ball at his feet, the goalkeeper took to long as Nadesan tapped it away leaving the ball at the feet of Nichols, Begovic made amends blocking Nichols shot well.
Crawley were then denied a clear penalty after Tom Nichols was clearly dragged to the floor by Llyod Kelly. Nothing was given by Andre Marriner. The Reds remained resilient as they put home a deserved equaliser. Matthews poked over the Bournemouth defence, Josh Wright flicked the ball onto Tom Nichols who calmly slotted past Begovic to put Crawley level. A well-deserved goal.
AFC Bournemouth responded well as Josh King was able to put the host’s back in front after linking up well with Danjuma. Danjuma was able to skip past several men on the edge of the box before sliding in King who calmly netted past Morris.
Josh King then made a darting run down the flank and was neatly picked out by substitute Ricardo Riquelme, Morris was on hand to smother the danger. Glenn was then forced into another incredible save, King again blasting from close range, Morris doing brilliantly to block with an outstretched hand.
Crawley continued to work hard but could not find the elusive equaliser, a performance and cup run to be proud of which many Crawley fans will remember for years to come.
REDS XI: Morris, Tunnicliffe, McNerney, Dallison, Adebowale (Sesay 51’), Powell, Hessenthaler, Matthews (Rodari 69’), Tsaroulla (J.Wright 29’), Nichols, Nadesan.