FA Cup Preliminary Round: Crawley Green 0 Dunstable Town 3
Favourites Dunstable Town battled past lower league Crawley Green in the Preliminary Round of the FA Cup on Friday night.
But it took two late goals for the Blues to eventually see off their Molten Spartan SML Division One neighbours Crawley Green 3-0 at Sharpenhoe Road.
Underdogs Crawley clearly relished their task, harrying Dunstable and preventing them from establishing any clear rhythm, but the Blues’ superior pace and skill enabled them to control the second half as they scored three times.
It wasn’t until the 56th-minute the visitors took the lead as Nathan Frater combine with Matt Nolan, who finished simply from close range.
Crawley continued to look to counter as Chris Gibson flashed a shot just wide of the far post.
And Dunstable finally told as they made sure of victory with two goals in the last 10 minutes.
Chris Marsh eluded ex–Blue Stuart Strange, before crossing for substitute Tony Burnett to head home.
And Nolan sealed victory in the last minute when Nolan turned just inside his own half before unleashing a delectable long range shot past Dean Bull.
Blues director of football John McLoughlin said: “It was a great match but we were poor in the first half, but in fairness Crawley never stopped running and made it difficult for us to play and I thought Crawley deserve a lot of credit as they matched us.
“But after a good talking to at half time the players responded and Matt Nolan produced a piece of class for the first goal and his second was a wonder strike from the halfway line.
“Tony Burnett changed things for us when he came on and that’s why you have quality on the bench. But we now play Hertford in the next round and that is another potential banana skin that we have to be aware off.
“But I think Crawley Green will do well this season, they have a great team sprit and a squad of good players. I would also like to thank the AFC management and players for supporting Crawley Green, it may of just given us the edge that we needed to get the result!”
Dunstable face either Hertford Town or Cheshunt away in the next round.
On Tuesday Dunstable are due to host Kettering Town in Calor Southern League Division One Central and on Saturday go to Aylesbury.
Crawley, meanwhile, host London APSA in the first round qualifying of the FA Vase on Saturday, and host Harpenden Town in the league on Wednesday week.
Maroons: Dean Bull, Chris Harvey (C), Craig Savage, Sean Downey, Matty Baldry, Nick Nolan, Kris Stephens, Peter O’Donnell, Richard Pringle, Hayden Wills, Chris Gibson. Substitutes used: Jamie Warne, Stuart Strange, John Butler. Substitutes not used: Rob Newman, Bart Pgorycz, Kevin McElroy, Adam Reid.
Blues: Head, Fontanelle, Cashman, Pickering, Leach, Olalaye, Watkins, Frater, Roache (Burnett), Nolan, Marsh. Substitutes not used: Mills, Mead, Plowright, Griffith.