Crawley fell to defeat in the Papa John’s Trophy this evening. Crawley were reduced to ten men in the first half as Mazeed handled the ball inside the area. Kyle Hudlin scored the resulting penalty to give his side the lead at half-time. The ten men of Crawley fought back with a goal from Jack Powell, but goals from Ayoub Assal and Kwaku Frimpong put the game to bed in the second half. Ludwig Francillette grabbed a consolation goal with the last touch of the match with a neat header at the far post.
It was a decent start to the match as the two sides, who had both made plenty of changes, created chances early on. Quaine Bartley had fired a shot wide for the visitors in the fourth minute before David Bremang fired a similar effort at goal just moments later.
Things then took a dramatic turn as Crawley were reduced to ten men and AFC Wimbledon were awarded a penalty. Mazeed received a risky ball inside the Crawley penalty area, and as he went to clear the ball, he slipped and handled the ball. The referee had no choice but to brandish the red card and give a penalty to Wimbledon. Kyle Hudlin stepped up and placed the ball into the bottom corner to give his side the lead.
The first half was plagued with injury breaks, which prevented Crawley from building any meaningful attacks. Despite being a man down, the Reds were holding possession well and maintained a large share of possession.
The Dons should have been two-nil up before half-time, but Hudlin missed a glorious chance from six yards. A ball was delivered into the Crawley area, and the towing forward rose well above the Reds’ defence. The striker failed to get his header on target as the ball sailed over the bar.
Kevin Betsy introduced James Tilley and Ludwig Francillette at half-time, and it was Crawley who made the better start to the half. The Reds were holding onto the ball very nicely, but as the clock approached the hour mark, the Dons’ goalkeeper still hadn’t been troubled.
The ten men of Crawley continued to push on and grabbed a well-deserved equalise through Jack Powell. It was a good move from Crawley as Jake Hessenthaler and Caleb Chuckwemeka linked up inside the Wimbledon penalty area. Caleb set the ball back to Powell on the edge of the box, and after a huge deflection, the ball trickled into the bottom corner.
Crawley’s lead did not last long as Ayoub Assal blasted the ball into the roof of the net. Ben Wells was beaten to the ball by his marker, who slid a neat ball into the Red Devils’ penalty area from a wide position. Assal came across his man and thumped the ball beyond Robson to restore his side's lead.
The lead soon increased to two goals. Assal burst into the box and looked up to see an empty Crawley penalty area other than Kwaku Frimpong, who was waiting at the back post. Assal had the simple task of sliding the ball across the face of goal to Frimpong, who dispatched it into an empty net.
The Reds pulled one back with the last touch of the match. Francillette converted a header at the far post from a cross, but it wasn’t enough as Crawley fell to a 3-2 defeat.
REDS XI: Robson, Fellows, Wells, Mazeed, Johnson, Mason (Hessenthaler 57’), Powell, Marshall (Tilley 46’), Bremang (Francillette 46’), Chuckwumeka (Khaleel 90’), Nadesan (Oteh 80’)
Attendance: 903 (153 away)