Crawley Town produce one of the greatest FA Cup upsets as The Reds thrash Leeds United 3-0

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A lot of the headlines after Crawley’s win over Leeds have been about Mark Wright making his professional debut in the final minute, and the reaction by fans. As interesting and celebratory as those things are, there’s a real great footballing story which must not be overlooked.

Crawley are a small club, who have not been in the football league for all that long. Currently plying their trade in League Two, the West Sussex club fielded a strong XI of: Morris, Francombe, Tunnicliffe, Craig, Dallison-Lisbon, Matthews, Hessenthaler, Powell, Tsaroulla, Nadesan, Nichols.

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Leeds United named a very credible XI themselves, with a number of recognisable names: Casilla, Phillips, Cooper, Davis, Struijk, Shackleton, Alioski, Hernandez, Poveda-Ocampo, Rodrigo, Helder Costa.

Bielsa was left to mull over back-to-back 3-0 defeats, albeit this one coming in a much different context to Leeds’ Premier League loss at Tottenham on 2 January!

This was the former Argentina manager’s first taste of an FA Cup shock, after far more mundane exits against Arsenal and QPR in Bielsa’s two previous campaigns since taking the Elland Road reins in 2018.

Leeds only forced one real save from Crawley keeper Glenn Morris, who reacted well to push away Ian Poveda’s strike from an acute angle in the first half. Indeed, the Premier League side were extremely toothless in attack.

Leeds might point to a penalty they perhaps should have had before the interval when Crawley defender Tony Craig got away with pulling back Rodrigo as he attempted to meet Helder Costa’s volleyed cross. However, League Two grounds don’t have the luxury of VAR.

The chances of attacking success weren’t helped when Rodrigo was substituted at half-time.

The second half was a total mauling as Crawley ran riot.

Tsaroulla put the hosts ahead on 50 minutes with this goal:

Then Tunnicliffe sent Crawley into delirium in the 70th minute, by converting Sam Matthews’ free kick.

Mark Wright made a late cameo in the final minute, but the real story here is that a League Two side not only beat Premiership opposition, but absolutely destroyed them! This is one of the greatest FA Cup results for many years.