Leeds could only feel like dealing FA Cup Pain and shame. They have crossed the third round just five times in 20 years, and sometimes they have not even come that far. Their supporters are still trembling at the crash of League One days – in one and two rounds against Hereford and non-League Histon, respectively.
It was another disaster, and could add the name of League to Crawley to the humiliating call that includes Newport County, non-league Sutton United and Roachdale. Leeds were not so pulsating, but one afternoon torn in the second half, in which Crawley scored three times, should have been more.
If it weren’t for the colors, no one would be able to tell from the team that finished 12th in the Premier League to the sixth-placed team in the under division of professional play in England. Crawley was hungry, they had a work rate and plan, and they had a cutting edge.
Former Tottenham coach Nick Charlou started the way when he went fast from half to finish brilliantly in the 50th minute, and it was quick 2-0 when Ashley Nadesan embarrassed Kiko Casilla near him. It was a horror moment for the Leeds goalkeeper, but it got even worse for him and his team.
Crowley came in third when Casilla pushed a shot from Nadesan following a corner and the center half was in the hands of Jordan Dunncliffe to shoot into the roof of the net. Unfortunately, Minows had more opportunities at a time when they could live forever in the memories of fans who had to experience it from their living rooms via the BBC.
Crawley brought in Stardust for the introduction of reality TV star Mark Wright as a 90th minute alternative – not their best competitors. Wright, a one-time Spurs youth team player, took part in non-league matches before seeking his fortune outside the game, which is currently the subject of a BBC documentary. The latest episode is neatly scripted.
Wright, 33, has been training with Crawley for the past two months, which is the first game he has qualified for. The only way Essex? The only way, here, is West Sussex. Crawley has not regretted the Premier League opposition before. That is definitely the biggest consequence of their history.
“That’s what they tell me,” manager John Yems said. “We went to church this morning and lit some candles. No, not really. We know we have to work as hard as we can – don’t get caught while chasing the ball, don’t mix in their game. We did it. We have it in front of them, the rest of history. “
Marcelo Pizza was poetic at her pre-match press conference. “For me, the FA Cup represents English football in its purest form,” the Leeds manager said. He showed his respect for the match – and Crawley – by naming a strong opener XI, who set up a right-back trio of England midfielder Calvin Phillips with a score of 3-4-3.
Leeds had all the balls in the first half, but they failed to do much of it – a total of their efforts with an Ian Boweda shot and a confident Rodrigo penalty shout from a tight angle that worked for Glenn Morris. After the break they melted into the background, and Crawley shone the most intense lights on their defensive relaxation. Pizza has now lost all three of his relationships in the tournament.
Crawley may have been ahead at half-time. Nadesan came out of the crowd after Phillips’ mistake, but in the 41st minute from Jack Powell’s corner Tom Nicholas had a great chance to get very close to Casilla. It is not a bar.
Pizza made three changes in half time, two of which were the introduction of youngsters, Oliver Casey and Jack Jenkins. Casey, in particular, struggled in central defense, with Leeds leading 2-0. “They changed in half, and I think it’s in our favor,” Nadesan said.
The power of Charoulla’s 40-yard run matched the accuracy of his low shot in the far corner – where is the Leeds resistance? – And while Crawley was in Dreamland, Nadesan overtook Casey and exploded into a nearby post. The bounce deceived Casilla and the ball went through him.
Tom Dallison and Sam Mathews had gone before Tunnickliff’s goal, and after that, Jake Hessendler had two good chances – the first after dropping around Casilla; Casey will create a storage module. Rocky theme tune filled the stadium full time and the only consolation for Leeds was Gatwick Airport just 10 minutes away.