Crawley Town and the FA Cup - a history of first round ties

Matt Harrold scores for Crawley against Luton in the FA Cup (Pic by Joe Rigby) SUS-150911-161707008
Matt Harrold scores for Crawley against Luton in the FA Cup (Pic by Joe Rigby) SUS-150911-161707008

Crawley Town travel to League 1 high-flyers Wigan Athletic on Saturday as they make their season’s debut in the FA Cup at the first round stage.

Reds have a proud history in the famous competition but in the last few years have found it difficult to emulate past successes.

Emile Sinclair speaks to the press after scoring Crawley Town's second goal in their 2-1 win at Hednesford Town in the FA Cup 1st Round ENGSUS00220131211180449

Emile Sinclair speaks to the press after scoring Crawley Town's second goal in their 2-1 win at Hednesford Town in the FA Cup 1st Round ENGSUS00220131211180449

They gained national recognition by twice reaching the fifth round when the team was managed by Steve Evans in their promotion-winnings seasons in 2010-11 and 2011-12.

However since joining the Football League they have not found it so easy and in fact have not won a match in the competition since beating non-league club Hednesford Town 2-1 away in November 2013.

An own goal plus a goal by Emil Sinclair earned Reds progress on that occasion to the second round.

But since then, Reds have failed to progress beyond the first round.

Billy Clifford scores a goal against Bristol Rovers. Picture by Phil Westlake SUS-160511-152410002

Billy Clifford scores a goal against Bristol Rovers. Picture by Phil Westlake SUS-160511-152410002

In 2014-15, during the season they were relegated from League 1 they lost 1-0 away to another struggling side in the same division, Yeovil Town.

Now in League 2, In November 2015 Reds fell 2-1 at home to Luton Town thanks to a brace by Josh McQuoid, despite Matt Harrold’s 63rd minute equaliser.

Last season Crawley’s opponents were Bristol Rovers from a division-above in League 1. The initial home tie ended 1-1.

Reds went behind after just 15 minutes through Lee Brown but Billy Clifford earned them a replay with 35th minute equaliser.

The rematch in Avon ended in a 4-2 defeat by the Gas with Jordan Roberts and Harrold again getting on the scoresheet.

Before gaining English Football League status, Crawley actually reached the First Round no fewer than eight times.

Occupying a birth as part-timers in the humble Southern League Division 1, Reds reached the first round two years in a row.

In November 1970 they played Chelmsford City from the Southern Premier and drew 1-1 at Town Mead before being thrashed 6-1 in the replay in Essex.

In 1971 they played Exeter City, drawing the home tie 0-0 before losing the replay 2-0.

Who could forget 1991-92 when Crawley, who by this time were operating in the Southern Premier League, managed to overturn mighty Northampton Town from Football League Division 3.

A packed Town Mead saw Reds beat the Cobblers 4-2. Crawley went on to reach the third round that year, when they played Brighton at the Goldstone.

On November 13, 1993 their opponents were the Met Police who they beat 2-0 away to set up a second round tie against Barnet.

In 1994 Reds again took on Exeter City away, where they lost 1-0.

Forward a few years and in 2002 Reds, who were still in the Southern League Premier, met Tiverton Town from the same division.

Crawley held them to a 1-1 draw in Devon, thanks to a first half equaliser by Nic McDonnell.

The replay at Broadfield Stadium on November 26 was won 3-2 with an 87th minute winner by Hazelwick School teacher Warren Bagnall clinching victory after a McDonnell brace.

This paved the way for a second round clash with Conference side Dagenham.

In 2003 Reds travelled to Shropshire club Telford United, losing a thriller 3-2 after goals by Paul Armstrong and Justin Gregory had given them a 2-0 half-time lead.

The first round game played by Crawley in their non-league era was in November 2010 in Yorkshire when they played Leeds club Guiseley.

Coming in the season they gained promotion to the Football League as Conference champions, this was the most memorable cup run of them all.

Famously they went on to play Manchester United at Old Trafford in the Fifth Round.

But in that first round tie they beat Guiseley 5-0 with goals by Matt Tubbs, Scott Neilson, Danny Hall, Richard Brodie and Sergio Torres.