Crawley exited the Carabao Cup at Turf Moor this evening. Lewis Young’s side took the lead through Dom Telford but had it quickly cancelled out by an Ashley Barnes header. Crawley’s resilient defence was only broken down in the 79th minute as substitute Anass Zaroury scored a late double to send his side through.
Eight changes were made from the side that started against Accrington Stanley at the weekend. The home side lined up strong, with some proven Premier League players, such as their captain for the night, Ashley Barnes. Naturally, the home side controlled the possession in the opening ten minutes. Crawley still looked positive, and Aramide Oteh had a shot that looked to be going on target deflected in the early stages.
The former Brighton and Hove Albion striker Barnes should have put his side ahead in the 12th minute but missed a glaring chance from short-range. A corner was headed back into the box towards Barnes, who was only a few yards from the goal. The striker miscued his effort, and it flew over the bar.
The first twenty minutes were all Burnley, and Crawley had Harry Ransom to thank for the score being level. The centre-back made an outstanding block to deny Jóhann Berg Guðmundsson from the edge of the box.
Within the space of five minutes, both teams scored. Crawley took the lead with a piece of textbook route one football. Ellery Balcombe launched the ball over the top of the Burnley defence from a goal-kick towards Dom Telford. The Crawley forward had acres of space to run forward and pick his spot in the bottom corner.
Crawley’s joy was short-lived, however. Ashley Barnes planted a perfectly placed header over Ellery Balcombe less than three minutes after Telford had opened the scoring for the Red Devils.
The Reds survived a late scare on the stroke of half-time. Guðmundsson had a free-kick blocked by the Crawley wall, but the ball fell kindly to Manuel Benson, who struck a sweetly hit effort towards goal. The ball appeared to take a slight deflection, which changed its flight of it completely. Balcome had to re-adjust and made a simply outstanding save to tip the ball onto the bar.
Crawley entered the half-time break with their heads held high, despite having very little of the ball.
The first ten minutes of the second half produced much of the same, a lot of Burnley possession with the odd Crawley burst. Caleb Chukwuemeka was sythed down by Guðmundsson, who earned himself a yellow card. The resulting free-kick was cleared by Burnley.
In the 65th minute, Lewis Young introduced Ashley Nadesan, Jake Hessenthaler and Jack Powell to freshen up the energy levels. Chukwuemeka, Oteh and Wells made way for the three substitutes, who had all put in an almighty shift.
The more the game went on, you couldn’t help but feel that Crawley were owed something from this game. They had defended so well and had done such a good job at keeping the strong Burnely attack at bay. This made it incredibly frustrating when Burnley took the lead in the 79th minute. Substitute Anass Zaroury turned the ball home from close range after Benson had a stroke of luck in getting past Nichols, who had been introduced.
Crawley had thrown everything at Burnley and as a result, were caught on the counter as Zaroury slotted home his second of the game to ensure victory for Burnely.
The full-time whistle soon followed, and Crawley could leave Turf Moor with their heads held high. Although Burnley were the better side, the result was harsh on the visitors, who were picked off at the death by the side at the top of the Championship.
REDS XI: Balcombe, Tsaroulla, Lynch, Ransom, Johnson, Oteh (Nadesan 67’), Wells (Powell 68’), Jenks, Davis, Telford (Nichols 79’), Chukwuemeka (Hessenthaler 68’)