Crawley Down Gatwick advance in FA Vase after nine-goal thriller

Marc Pelling headed home Crawley Down Gatwick's winner. Picture by Steve Robards
Marc Pelling headed home Crawley Down Gatwick's winner. Picture by Steve Robards

Crawley Down Gatwick booked their passage in to the second qualifying round of the FA Vase after a thrilling 5-4 extra-time win at home to East Preston on Saturday.

It was a superb match that ebbed and flowed throughout the whole of the 120 minutes, and was accompanied by a tremendous downpour toward the end, as if the heavens were applauding the efforts of both sides.

The Anvils went ahead on eight minutes through Nick Sullivan after an error by the EP keeper. But the visitors were not to be denied, and a three goal salvo from Johan Van Driel, David Crouch and Josh Irish had EP in the driving seat before Sullivan reduced the arrears to a single goal on the stroke of half-time.

For the second half Anvils finally started to get on top and a goal from Ollie Moore and another penalty conversion from Sullivan finally put the hosts in front on 71 minutes.

But the game swung yet again as Crouch popped up three minutes from time to make it 4-4 and take the tie to extra-time.

For the last half hour both sides went for the winner with chances at either end, but Marc Pelling scored what proved to be the winner on 98 minutes. The central defender rose highest to nod the Anvils into the next round.

The Anvils will take on current Division 1 leaders Mile Oak at home in the second qualifying round on Saturday September 14.

Crawley Down Gatwick host Division 1 outfit Roffey in the second round of the Peter Bentley Challenge Cup on Tuesday before they visit Pagham in the league on Saturday.

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