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Reds reach last 16 of Bristol Street Motors Trophy

5 December 2023

Club News


Reds reach last 16 of Bristol Street Motors Trophy

5 December 2023

A stunning second half display from Crawley Town saw them progress to the last 16 of the Bristol Street Motors Trophy as they beat League One Bristol Rovers 2-1 at the Broadfield Stadium.

After a slow first half, Reds were a different side in the second and goals from Jack Roles and Harry Forster saw them go through.

Scott Lindsey stuck with his young guns that have done so well in this competition with Ronan Darcy leading the side out. Rovers on the other hand came with a host of first team players as new manager Matt Taylor took charge of his first game

Harry Ransom was back in the centre of the back three with Tobi Omole and Joy Mukena either side. Travis Johnson was in the defensive midfielder role with Aaron Henry in the centre. Harry Forster and skipper Darcy were out wide with Jack Roles and Raf Khaleel behind Kam Swyer.

It was a sloppy first 15 minutes from Lindsey’s men with gifting Rovers chance after chance with unforced errors in midfield. But Corey Addai was equal to everything thrown at with James Gibbons, Harvey Vale, Sam Finley and Luke Thomas all testing him. Ransom was on hand with a superb block to deny the Pirates their best chance. 

When Reds did register their first effort, it was great to watch. Forster picked up the ball after good work from Henry and Omole and he drove towards goal before firing just wide.

Addai was then forced into another save from Thomas’ weak effort while Darcy fired after in another positive attack from the Reds.

Thomas was then booked for kicking the ball away before the best chance of the first half hour fell to Aaron Collins, but Addai was hand to pull of a superb one-on-one save and the Reds stopper was at it again three minutes before the break with another save, this time from Vale’s deflected shot. However the keeper was finally beaten when Thomas scored. It looked liked Henry was fouled in build up but referee Alan Young waves away Reds' protests with Thomas finishing inside the box.

Reds started the second half brightly and they could have scored two in the space of two minutes. First, Gas keeper Matthew Cox tipped Roles’ 25 yard effort over the bar before Cox somehow stopped Swyer's header from the resulting corner. However Reds pressure told and they did equalise and it was Roles who scored. Khaleel found Swyer in the box, the West Ham loanee did well to hold up the ball before laying off to Roles who lashed the ball home into the top corner.

Roles then had Cox worried with another good effort from distance but this time it just went over. Whatever Lindsey said to his players – specifically Roles – at half-time was working and Reds had their tails up.

In the ascendancy, Lindsey brought on the returning Dion Conroy to replace Omole and within minutes they were 2-1 up.

Forster picked up the ball and left Rovers players in his wake as he drifted through the midfield and then into the box before slotting home calmly past Cox.

With 20 minutes left, Lindsey looked to sure things up with Liam Kelly and Will Wright coming on to replace Aaron Henry and Travis Johnson respectively.

Reds were on top after this and frustrated Rovers and this came to head when Gibbons cynically hacked down Forster when he was running clear. Referee Alan Young had no hesitation in showing Gibbons a red card.

That was the end of the action as they saw out the win and recorded a famous win and they have now reached the last 16 of the EFL Trophy for the first time in their history. 

Attendance: 896 (116 away)

REDS XI: Addai, Omole (Conroy 66'), Ransom, Mukena, Johnson (Wright 70'), Henry (Kelly 70'), Khaleel (Lolos 62'), Darcy, Forster, Roles, Swyer

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