Formbook goes out the window as Crawley stun Fulham

Crawley Town v Fulham – Carabao Cup – Second Round – Broadfield Stadium
(Image credit: Steven Paston)

Struggling Crawley set aside their miserable League Two form to claim a third Premier League scalp in four seasons by dumping Fulham out of the Carabao Cup with a stunning 2-0 success.

Kevin Betsy’s side sit second bottom of the English Football League following a single point from five games but deservedly progressed to round three thanks to goals from captain Tom Nichols and Liverpool loanee James Balagizi.

Marco Silva’s much-changed Cottagers offered little in response before joining Norwich and Leeds on the list of top-flight clubs who have suffered cup embarrassment at Broadfield Stadium in recent years.

Fulham boss Silva made 10 alterations from the weekend win over Brentford, including handing a debut to £16million centre-back Issa Diop.

Tom Nichols celebrates

Tom Nichols struck for Crawley (Steven Paston/PA)

His experimental side looked shaky from the outset and fell behind with 16 minutes on the clock.

Striker Nichols claimed the breakthrough goal, collecting Ashley Nadesan’s pass to drill a low left-footed drive across Marek Rodak and into the far corner.

The Crawley skipper marked the confident finish by copying the viral twerking celebration of Kansas City midfielder Lo’eau LaBonta and he had further reason for jubilation just four minutes into the second half.

Fulham midfielder Tyrese Francois sloppily conceded possession deep inside his own half and England Under-19 international Balagizi, who was denied by Rodak just before the break, seized on Nichols’ delightful reverse pass to emphatically slot his third goal of the campaign into the bottom right corner.

Pitch invasion at Crawley

There was a pitch invasion at full-time (Steven Paston/PA)

A dismal Fulham debut for Diop was epitomised by him being booked for hauling down impressive 18-year-old Balagizi, before Rodak spared his side further humiliation by superbly keeping out the lively Nadesan.

Visiting forward Jay Stansfield threatened to halve the deficit during seven minutes of added time but Crawley keeper Corey Addai delighted the majority of the crowd of 5,577 with a rare save.

Despite warnings on the public address system and footballing authorities threatening stricter punishments this campaign, many home fans spilled on to the pitch at full-time.

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