Crawley Green came from a goal down to lift the Reserve Challenge Trophy with an outstanding 2-1 win against league leaders Hoddesdon Town on Tuesday evening.
With Town 21 points above third placed Crawley in the league they were red hot favourites to win the trophy and started brightly when Mizolav Raden’s early effort flew just wide of Charlie Yates’ left hand post.
Minutes later, Raden had another shot fly over before Hoddesdon took the lead after 11 minutes as Chris Ellerbeck was put through and he knocked the ball past the advancing Yates to make it 1-0.
However Town failed to build on their lead and Crawley slowly started to fight their way back into the game.
Green’s Lui Sarrington saw his free kick cleared before Charlie Clayton had a couple of shots blocked by the Town defence.
Valentino Qoku had a cross collected well by Simon Dent in the Town goal before Adam Marsh fired in an effort which was saved by the keeper.
Back came Hoddesdon with an effort from Guiseppe Crimaudo which went wide and just before the break, Raden had a free kick which bounced off the top of the bar as the rebound was scrambled to safety.
The second half started the same as the first with Town dominating the play, substitute Tom Lowell had a good run but his shot was cleared by the Crawley defence.
Raden then saw his free kick well saved by Yates as Crawley continued to fight back, Marsh’s attempt stopped by Dent.
The Maroons kept on pressing and after 56 minutes they were level when good work by Clayton and Marsh set up James Potter who went through to make it 1-1.
Town’s supporters became increasingly frustrated as Crawley’s defence blocked a shot from George Lyons and Raden fired over.
On 66 minutes their anguish grew when an unmarked Lyons headed straight at Yates from a cross by Raden.
Green stood firm throughout and it was really no surprise when they took the lead after 83 minutes.
Step forward substitute Andy Randell, on for the tiring Potter, who collected the ball on the left.
Despite being forced out wide Randell fired the ball past Dent to make it 2-1 and cue wild celebrations as he was mobbed by his team-mates.
Shortly after the goal Glen Freeman fired in a long range effort which Dent collected at the second attempt.
In the closing minutes Crawley ran down the clock to finish worthy 2-1 winners and avenge their defeat in last year’s final by Risborough Rangers.
Congratulations go to manager Ben Scott and his assistant Graeme Billington for leading their side to victory in their first season in charge.
Having recently lost in the Bedfordshire Intermediate Cup final and conceding an early goal in this clash,the team showed amazing resolve and character to lift the Trophy.
Next up for Crawley is a trip to ninth-placed Hadley in the SSML Reserve Division South & East on Tuesday night.