Crawley Town 2 Newport County 3: Reds out of Johnstone’s Paint Trophy

Crawley Town v Newport
Crawley Town v Newport

Crawley Town let slip a two-goal lead before being knocked out of the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy 3-2 by League 2 side Newport County.

In an eventful match, Reds raced to a 2-0 lead after two early goals by Emile Sinclair and Mike Jones with a dramatic strike from his own half.

Crawley Town 2 Newport County 3

Crawley Town 2 Newport County 3

However Newport pulled a goal back just before half-time by Chris Zebroski.

Then after the break the Exiles levelled from the penalty spot by Adam Chapman in an incident which also saw the Reds reduced to 10-men through the sending-off of defender James Hurst.

Both sides made the maximum allowed five changes to their starting line-ups with Crawley bringing in Hurst, Mark Connolly, Connor Essam, Sergio Torres and Emile Sinclair.

Reds boss Richie Barker rested Billy Clarke, Andy Drury, Kyle McFadzean, Joe Walsh and Dannie Bulman.

Crawley took the lead in the 13th minute when James Hurst crossed to Nicky Adams whose initial shot was well saved by keeper Jamie Stephens before rebounding to Sinclair who bundled the ball into the net.

The scrambled goal appeared to go in off a defender but was credited to the Crawley striker.

The Reds then wasted no time in increasing their lead with a candidate for goal of the season.

Newport keeper Jamie Stephens ran out of his area to clear a ball on 22 minutes but it went straight to Mike Jones who struck the ball straight back over his head from his own half which staggeringly landed in the net David Beckham-style from over 50 yards.

It was one of the best goals ever seen at the Stadium and was perfectly directed from so long-range.

As the fans were still marvelling at the wonder-strike, referee Rob Lewis hobbled off injured and had to be replaced by fourth official Nigel Lugg.

After a quiet start from the visitors, Newport gradually started to make an impact in the game and created a dangerous chance on the half hour when Mike Flynn crossed to Danny Crow who put his first time shot narrowly wide.

Newport then pulled a goal back two minutes before half-time as Flynn ran to the byline, beating Mark Connolly and crossed to Chris Zebroski who made easy work of a six-yard tap-in.

Jones then had another go for Crawley from the last move before the break but his shot from the right went flying over the bar from a tight angle. Perhaps it was too close to the goal!

Disaster struck for Crawley at the start of the second half as Hurst was sent-off in the 48th minute for bringing down Crow in the box after the Reds defender had made a mistake with a header back to his goalkeeper.

Newport were awarded a penalty from the incident and recovered to 2-2 as Adam Chapman confidentally found the net from the spot-kick.

Crawley replied with two quick chances as first Josh Simpson went close with a header from Adams’ excellent free-kick and then Jamie Proctor ran through the middle and drilled just wide of the post.

Newport then took the lead in the 61st minute with a powerful shot by Robbie Willmott which was deflected into his own net by the sliding Essam.

Willmott was soon through again for another chance but this time was denied by a good save by Reds’ keeper Paul Jones.

Ten-man Crawley then pressed forward looking for an equaliser as first Connolly and then Jamie Proctor saw powerful strikes saved by County keeper Jamie Stephens.

Gary Alexander, who had just replaced Emile Sinclair upfront, then blasted a shot from the right which was blocked by Tom Naylor.

Reds continued to push forward in their numbers in the last few minutes but could not find another goal.

REDS: Paul Jones, James Hurst, Mat Sadler, Mark Connolly, Connor Essam, Sergio Torres (Dannie Bulman 61), Josh Simpson, Jamie Proctor, Nicky Adams, Emile Sinclair (Andy Drury 61), Mike Jones (Gary Alexander 67)

Unused subs: Luke Rooney, Jonathan Maddison

NEWPORT COUNTY: Jamie Stephens, Andrew Hughes, Tony James, Ismail Yakubu (Adam Chapman 13), Lee Minsell, Danny Crow, Chris Zebroski, Robbie Willmott (Conor Washington 86). Mike Flynn (David Pipe 83), Ryan Jackson, Tom Naylor.

Unused subs: Lenny Pidgely

REFEREE: Rob Lewis

ATTENDANCE: 1,350 (away 81)