Bristol Rovers 2 Crawley Town 1: Reds knocked out of Carabao Cup

Football: League 2''Crawley Town v Stevenage''Pictured is Crawley  Town's Mark Connolly in  action.              ' 'Crawley Town Football Club, Checkatrade Stadium, Winfield Way, Crawley, West Sussex. ''Picture: Liz Pearce 11/08/2018''LP181071 SUS-181108-161428008
Football: League 2''Crawley Town v Stevenage''Pictured is Crawley Town's Mark Connolly in action. ' 'Crawley Town Football Club, Checkatrade Stadium, Winfield Way, Crawley, West Sussex. ''Picture: Liz Pearce 11/08/2018''LP181071 SUS-181108-161428008

Crawley Town were knocked out of the Carabao Cup in the first round when they lost 2-1 away to League 1 side Bristol Rovers.

A first half goal by Rovers’ Kyle Bennett was added to in the 85th minute by Ollie Clarke.

Mark Connolly scored what proved to be a consolation goal in the 88th minute which made for an interesting final few minutes.

Finally head coach Harry Kewell was booked for protesting to the referee about a penalty appeal and Reds finished the game with ten men when Dominic Poleon was sent-off in added-time.

New signings Rob Milsom and Tarryn Allarahkia made their debuts while Reece Grego-Cox made his competitive start up front spearheading Reds’ attack.

Altogether Harry Kewell made six changes to the side which lost against Stevenage on Saturday with Panutche Camara, Mark Randall and goalkeeper Yusuf Mersin all making their first competitive starts this season.

In search of their first win of the season, Bristol boss Darrell Clarke made four changes to their side and created the first chance when Grant Leadbitter crossed nicely to Bennett in front of goal who cannot connect well with his header.

Crawley responded with a good ball by George Francomb who found Camara but mishit his shot.

Mersin got down well to make a save to deny Stefan Payne after he was put through by Sam Matthews.

Rovers took the lead in the 32nd minute when a corner by Matthews was headed in by Bennett.

Bristol continued to pressurise with Tom Lockyer getting too much power on a header which bounced over the bar.

Mersin manages to hold the ball from Payne on the rebound after dropping an initial attempt by Matthews.

Rovers dominated the early part of the second half and there was a nervous moment when Payne latched on to a loose pass but it was ruled to be offside.

The dangerous Matthews shot again from outside the area but Mersin was up to the challenge.

Francomb found Grego-Cox in a dangerous position, but he didn’t manage to shoot.

Crawley boss Kewell was booked by the referee for protesting over a penalty appeal for a handball which was turned down.

Ollie Clarke fired in Rovers’ second goal with five minutes to go which dipped into the bottom right hand corner from 25 yards.

With two minutes left on the clock Connolly pulled a goal back with a back post header.

Dominic Polean was sent-off for receiving a second yellow card in the 93rd minute for trying to obstruct Smith’s drop-kick two minutes before the final whistle blew.

Crawley Town: Mersin, Young, Doherty, Connolly, Grego-Cox, Francomb, Allarahkia (Poleon 61), Vincelot, Milsom (Bulman 61), Randall, (Nathaniel-George 81), Camara

Unused subs: Morris, McNerney, Sessey

Bristol Rovers: Smith, Leadbitter, Lockyer (capt), Craig, J.Clarke, Lines, O.Clarke, Matthews, Bennett (Upson 80), Rodman (Sercombe 82), Payne

Unused subs: Slocombe, Nichols, Broadbent, Jakubiak, Reilly

Referee: Lee Swabey (Devon)

Attendance: 2,336 (47 away)