Crawley Town 3-0 Leeds United: FA Cup giant killing as League Two side stun

Crawley Town produced the shock of the FA Cup third round as a second-half blitz saw the League Two side stun Premier League Leeds 3-0 on Sunday.

Sixty-two places in the English football pyramid stood between the two sides ahead of kick-off but that counted for nothing as Crawley secured one of the finest victories in the club’s history.

Two goals in two-and-a-half minutes, a fine solo effort from Nick Tsaroulla and Ashley Nadesan’s near-post drive, left Leeds with a mountain to climb at the Broadfield Stadium, and their hopes were extinguished 20 minutes from time when Jordan Tunnicliffe rammed home a rebound for Crawley’s third.

The defeat continued Leeds’ dismal run in the third round of the FA Cup, with Marcelo Bielsa’s side having been eliminated at this stage for the last four seasons.

For Crawley, and their 61-year-old manager John Yems, thoughts turn to Monday’s four and fifth-round draws, where one of the biggest cup upsets in recent years could be rewarded with a lucrative glamour tie.

Player ratings

Crawley: Morris (8), Francomb (7), Craig (7), Tunnicliffe (8), Dallison (7), Tsaroulla (8), Powell (7), Hessenthaler (8), Matthews (8), Nadesan (9), Nichols (7).

Subs: Davies (6), J Wright (6), Watters (6), Doherty (n/a), M Wright (n/a).

Leeds: Casilla (3), Davis (5), Struijk (5), Cooper (5), Alioski (5), Phillips (5), Shackleton (5), Hernandez (5), Poveda (5), Costa (5), Rodrigo (5).

Subs: Jenkins (4), Casey (4), Harrison (4), Raphinha (4), Greenwood (4).

Man of the Match: Ashley Nadesan.

How Crawley cruised past lacklustre Leeds

Leeds United's Jamie Shackleton, left, duels for the ball with Crawley Town's Nicholas Tsaroulla - AP photo
Leeds United’s Jamie Shackleton duels for the ball with Crawley Town’s Nicholas Tsaroulla

While in-form Crawley suffered a 1-0 fifth-round defeat at Manchester United as a non-league side a decade ago, this was almost certainly the club’s biggest game on home soil.

Coronavirus restrictions deprived them of a sell-out home support but they were boosted by 15-goal top scorer Max Watters returning to the bench, where he was joined by former reality television star Mark Wright.

The hosts had to wait until four minutes before the break for their first real chance and could easily have gone into the dressing room ahead.

Team news

  • Nick Tsaroulla replaced Archie Davies in Crawley’s only change from the win at Bolton. Top scorer Max Watters returned from a hamstring injury but was fit enough only for a place on the bench.
  • Pascal Struijk, Ezgjan Alioski and Kalvin Phillips were the only players to retain their places as Leeds made eight changes from the defeat at Tottenham.

Striker Tom Nichols, scorer of a hat-trick in the remarkable 6-5 first-round win at Torquay, powerfully met Jack Powell’s corner with his head, forcing back-up Leeds keeper Kiko Casilla into a diving save.

Undeterred by that missed opportunity, the hosts took control of the contest courtesy of two goals in the opening minutes of the…

Read More:Crawley Town 3-0 Leeds United: FA Cup giant killing as League Two side stun