Sky Bet League Two went ahead as usual for most clubs over the weekend as the fourth round of the Emirates FA Cup drew attention from clubs across the top six divisions of English football. Two sides from the division remain in the cup after five fell by the wayside in the third round.
Crawley Town stole the headlines with a 3-0 win at home to Premier League giants Leeds United. The Reds suffered significantly on the possession stats – as could be reasonably expected – but were a cut above in front of goal. Converting three of their six shots on target, Town put Marcelo Bielsa’s side to the sword with clinical finishing, despite the 62-place deficit in the football pyramid.
Nick Tsaroulla put the hosts ahead five minutes after halftime with a superb run and finish beyond Kiko Casilla. Moments later the lead was doubled by Ashley Nadesan, who found the net from an acute angle. Scoring was rounded off in the 70th minute by Jordan Tunnicliffe’s close-range strike. So comfortable were Crawley in their lead, manager John Yems substituted reality television star Mark Wright onto the field shortly before full time.
Elsewhere, Cheltenham Town booked their place in the fourth round with a 2-1 victory over Mansfield Town. Clough’s Stags took an early lead through Stephen McLaughlin’s third-minute strike, but Cheltenham were not stymied as they fought their way back into the tie at the Jonny-Rocks Stadium. The Robins equalised 70 minutes after falling behind through forward Alfie May, whose sumptuous strike chalked up his third goal of the campaign.
Extra time ensued and Cheltenham completed their comeback with just 10 minutes left on the clock when Scotsman Williams Boyle nodded home an incredible long throw-in from 30-year-old centre-back Ben Tozer.
Newport County came agonisingly close to a fairy-tale of their own as they hosted Premier League Brighton and Hove Albion. After keeping out their top-flight counterparts for 90 minutes, Newport fell behind to a powerful strike from Solomon March on the edge of the penalty area.
The deficit was to last only a handful of minutes as County equalised with pretty much the last kick of the game. A dangerous cross was floated in from the right flank and turned into Jason Steele’s net by Brighton defender Adam Webster.
Newport fell behind early in the penalty shootout after Josh Sheehan and Mickey Demetriou missed the opening two attempts. The Exiles pulled it back after Neal Maupay and Leandro Trossard squandered Albion’s chances of taking the victory, but the Premier League side prevailed in the end as Webster made amends by tucking away the seventh penalty to knock County out in sudden death conditions.