Crawley could not complete a league and cup double after losing to Coalville 4-2 in a penalty shoot-out in the HA Vase final in Lea Valley.
Manager Keith Frimley said: “We are all incredibly disappointed but our aims were to win the league and get to the final of the Cup - we did both; it’s the first time in our history we have got to the final of the HA Vase. Penalties are always a lottery!
“It’s also the first time we have won the Kent/Sussex Regional 2 League.”
More than 100 Crawley supporters travelled to Lee Valley to see Crawley narrowly lose an exciting game on 4-2 on penalties.
Captain Alex Watson said: It’s been an honour to have been a part of the squad this season, thanks to everybody involved and especially to those who have made the journeys to watch us in the cup run and league title win, the supporters certainly made Lee Valley know Crawley we here today.
“I also have to say thanks to the backroom team, Steve Wright this season has got us to be a much fitter side, the number of games we have won in the last ten minutes as been the result of that work.”
Coalville went 1-0 up, over commitment by Crawley on the right resulted in a counter attack and a an aerial ball that was missed controlled by a defender feel to a Coalville player whose reverse stick strike went flying past Jamie Westwood in the bottom right corner.
Crawley made their task harder when defender Mark Brightwell was sin-binned for a tackle on a Coalville player,
When Crawley got back to 11 men, they took the game to Coalville and a dinky run from saw Carl Wright forced an infringement in the D to win Crawley’s first short corner of the game. Up stepped Brendan Maccaolite to fire a flick to the goal keepers left only to be parried to safety.
Crawley then went down to 10 men against when Reece Banton was judged to have deliberately put his body in the way of a pass, however this time further changes in formation ensured little danger from Coalville.
Captain Alex Watson said: Thanks to everybody involved and especially to those who have made the journeys to watch us in the cup run and league title win, the supporters certainly made Lee Valley know Crawley we here today.”
Back to 11 players Crawley hit back in the 28th minute with a fast flowing move down the left flank started by Baz Ahmedi, moving the ball fast into the channel saw it picked up by Steve Innes to pass to Seb Watson to smack the ball into the goal from a tight angle.
1-1 at half time coach Frimley stressed the importance of winning more short corners and focusing on ensuring no fouls to avoid any further sin-bin cards from the umpire.
At the start of the second half the both sides had opportunities Coalville struck the post, but this seemed to fire Crawley on, a great run from left midfielder Hasan Yousaf across the face of the D saw the space open up, only for his shot from the top of the D fire over the top right of the goal.
Crawley then went down to 10 men, when Bettesworth was sent to the sin-bin, on his return and with 14 minutes of the second half gone, Crawley won only their second short corner. The switch move from Fuller to Bettesworth went back to Carl Wright who calmly picked his spot to put Crawley 2-1 into the lead.
In the 19th minute Rob Gate was harshly sin-binned for an infringement, not moving back 5 metres quickly enough and tackling a Coalville player, it was very shortly after the incidence that Coalville scored from a controversial penalty corner to level it to 2-2.
Once Rob Gate was back from the sin-bin he was moved to left attack and with six minutes remaining Gate had a glorious chance to win it for Crawley but with the goal the gaping the Coalville keeper made a quite miraculous double save to deny him.
With move sides holding out the game ended 2-2 and went to a penalty shootout. This regrettably for CHC saw the Coalville keeper and their man of the match in fantastic form, diving low to his right he save Crawley’s first penalty from Kieran Fuller.
Coalville converted their first corner, sending Westwood the wrong way. Steve Innes converted Crawley’s 2nd and Coalville followed, this time Jamie Westwood getting a stick to the ball only to see it deflected into the goal.
Up stepped Has Yousef for Crawley and he narrowly missed with his flick, going inches wide to the top right of the goal.
Coalville then went 3-1 up, with a flick just evading Westwood again. Brendan Maccoilte calmly slotted for Crawley bringing it back to 3-2, but sadly for Crawley Colville converted their 4th, winning the shootout 4-2.
A gutted Alex Watson Crawley’s captain said: “We thought we should have done enough during the game to win. The Coalville keeper made a brilliant save from Rob than ended up the turning point of the game getting them to the shoot out and of course the first penalty save really the inspired them.”