Crawley Town beat Leeds United this afternoon in a giant-killing that nobody will forget. Goals from Nick Tsaroulla, Ashley Nadesan and Jordan Tunnicliffe sealed a famous victory as Josh and Mark Wright also made their debuts.
The Reds started the better of the two sides, Jack Powell had an early shot curl just wide after Tsaroulla looked to be fouled on the edge. Tsaroulla then won a corner which was punched away by Kiko Casilla in the Leeds United goal.
Ian Poveda clipped the ball into the box for Leeds first chance of the afternoon, the lofted cross floated just over Rodrigo Moreno who was waiting in the six-yard box. Crawley then won a free kick in an interesting crossing position, Matthews ball was eventually seen out for a goal kick after Tony Craig and Tom Nichols flicked it on.
Tom Nichols then fired at goal from about 20-yards, Kalvin Phillips blocking on the edge of the Leeds penalty area ensuring the ball fell safely to Casilla. The Reds showing real confidence in the opening ten minutes.
Glenn Morris was forced to make a smart save as Ian Poveda intruded in the Reds box, Poveda struck at goal with real menace but Morris stuck out a leg to divert away from goal. A flurry of Leeds corners were well dealt with by the Crawley defence.
Poveda skillfully nutmegged Geroge Francomb before crossing to the far post where Helder Costa lied in wait, Costa’s first-time ball was heading Rodrigo’s way but a combination of Tony Craig and Jordan Tunnicliffe dealt with the ball and cleared to safety. Leeds players were shouting for a penalty as Rodrigo hit the deck, nothing given by Peter Bankes.
Ashley Nadesan linked up brilliantly with Sam Matthews to send the winger on his way, Matthews took the ball 15-yards before firing at goal, but his shot lacked power and trickled past the post. Rodrigo then collected the ball on the edge of the Crawley penalty area, the striker's shot was high and wide.
England international Kalvin Phillips had a loose first touch intercepted by Nadesan, this allowed Nadesan to use his electric pace to reach the edge of the box where he cut inside and fired at goal, his shot cleared for a corner. The corner floated in by Powell was met by Tom Nichols who flicked at goal, Casilla making an athletic reflex save to parry away.
Nadesan made two impeding runs early into the second half, the second was more threatening as Powell sent Nadesan on his way, Ashley twisted and turned before crossing towards Nichols but Phillips was on hand to head away.
Nicholas Tsaroulla then produced a moment of pure FA Cup magic. He collected the ball just inside the Leeds half before skipping past one man then another and bursting past the last line of defence and blasting a shot across goal beyond Casilla. An outrageous goal from the youngster.
Crawley really turned on the heat and found themselves two to the good just four minutes after taking the lead. The ball fell into the feet of Nichols who sent Nadesan on his way, Nadesan burst past the defence on the right-hand side leaving him one on one with Casilla. Nadesan drove towards goal before firing low and hard and somehow the ball snuck under Casilla to give the Reds a two-goal lead. Dreamland for Crawley.
Tom Dallison then had a volley blocked in the box, the effort looked goalbound as Leeds had to settle from a corner. Jordan Tunnicliffe almost nodded past Casilla but the goalkeeper punched away. Dallison was then on defensive duties as he courageously threw himself in front of a Helder Costa volley.
The dream continued to grow for Crawley as Jordan Tunnicliffe added a third for the Reds in the 72nd minute. Sam Matthews whipped in a dangerous ball which was half-cleared by the Leeds defence, Nadesan fired at goal, his effort was saved by Casilla but the rebound fell straight to the feet of Jordan Tunnicliffe who lashed the ball into the rood of the net.
Substitute Max Watters then rounded Casilla having beaten his man for strength, unfortunately, his touch took him a little wide which gave both goalkeeper and defender plenty of time to get back to their positions. Watters then forced a very smart block from Phillips.
Crawley were really commanding possession and looking like the only team that would cause a threat out of the two. One of the best Crawley performances in recent years, if not the best.
Reds XI: Morris; Francomb, Craig, Tunnicliffe, Dallison (M.Wright 90’), Matthews (Davies 72’), Tsaroulla (J.Wright 72’), Hessenthaler (Doherty 90’), Powell; Nichols, Nadesan (Watters 72’)