In dramatic style, Crawley almost took the lead within the opening ten seconds of this match. It was a well-worked routine from Scott Lindsey’s side that saw Klaidi Lolos have a clear run at goal. Steve Arnold rushed out, which Lolos took advantage of and attempted a chipped effort. Unfortunately, the effort trickled wide.
Sutton’s only real threat in the first half came from D’mani Mellor, who had a lot of space on the right-hand side. One of Mellor’s threatening runs gave Hisham Kasimu a decent chance at finding the back of the net, but Travis Johnson was on hand to intercept.
The rest of the half was all Crawley, and the Reds had several chances to take the lead but were denied on several occasions by Arnold in the Sutton goal.
Crawley’s next chance fell to Rafiq Khaleel, who looked to capitalise on a poor clearance from the Sutton goalkeeper. The ball set up kindly for Khaleel, who tried to convert an audacious volley from about 40 yards. Fortunately for Sutton, Arnold had recovered rough ground to collect Khaleel’s effort.
The best chances of the game then fell to Crawley before the half-time break. Kamarai Swyer burst free of the Sutton defence after the ball was perfectly played through to the West Ham loanee, but Arnold saved well with his feet.
Arnold came to Sutton’s rescue once again before the half-time break as he saved a powerful effort from Kellan Gordon. Harry Forster had whipped a great ball into the back of the area where Gordon was unmarked. The wing-back struck his effort well, but Arnold read the strike well and palmed it to safety.
There was little in the way of chances for either side in the second half. Rafiq Khaleel rattled the bar from the edge of the area inside the opening two minutes of the half before Klaidi Lolos fired wide after an amazing run through the heart of the Sutton defence.
Jack Roles thought he had won Crawley a penalty when his strike appeared to hit the arm of a Sutton man on its way towards the goal. The referee was perfectly placed and decided that no penalty would be awarded.
A highlight of the half for Crawley was seeing Ade Adeyemo make his first professional career appearance. Adeyemo had to wait almost three months to get his chance after sustaining a nasty injury during pre-season. The young forward looked bright in attack when he replaced Klaidi Lolos after the hour mark.
In the end, nothing could separate the two sides, which meant that they both took a single point in the group stage.
A penalty shootout took place to decide the winner of the extra point, which went the way of the home side as they won the shootout 5-4.
Crawley still remain at the top of the group and have a chance to qualify when they face Aston Villa U21 in November.
REDS XI: Ashby-Hammond, Gordon, Mukena, Ransom (Wright 90’), Omole, Forster, Johnson, Khaleel (Henry 74’), Swyer, Roles, Lolos (Adeyemo 61’)