This was FA Cup 3rd Round weekend, one of the best weekends on the football calendar as it provides shock results.
This was a clash between League 2 Crawley Town and Premier League Leeds United, and the fact it was on BBC TV meant they thought there was a chance of an upset. Marcelo Bielsa did put a strong team out, so would they show their Premier League quality and have a decent FA Cup run, or would it be another embarrassing exit?
It was played at the People’s Pension Stadium.
Reference for photo: https://www.facebook.com/LeedsUnited/photos
After 1 minute, Powell’s shot from 20 yards out was wide.
After 6 minutes Alioski put too much on a pass to Poveda who couldn’t keep the ball in.
Two minutes later Poveda cut inside onto his left foot, swung a cross in that Rodrigo tried to convert on the stretch but it just evaded him.
After 13 minutes Nichols tried his luck from distance, but a block took the sting out of it and Casilla comfortably collected.
A minute later, there was a nice sweeping attack from Leeds as Rodrigo was found in space on the edge of the box. His blocked effort fell to Hernandez who shifted inside onto his left foot to get a shot away, but it was high and wide.
Then Poveda escaped down the left and drilled an effort across goal from a tight angle and Morris did well to make a save with his foot at near post.
After 20 minutes, there was a four pass move by Leeds which released Alioski down the left, but his final ball was poor as his cross towards Rodrigo was intercepted.
Three minutes later, Hernandez’s ball threatened to find Shackleton through on goal at the end of a multi-pass move, but too much on the pass.
Just before the half hour , Leeds counter attacked and Hernandez floated a ball out to Costa at the back post and he sent a first time ball into the middle where Rodrigo looked to be tugged back by Craig. There were penalty appeals but nothing given.
Just after the half hour mark, Matthews scampered away on the counter, he looked to have slipped Tsaroulla through on goal with a perfectly-weighted pass inside the Leeds centre back and fullback, but the offside flag ended the move.
After 38 minutes, Rodrigo swivelled on receipt of the ball on edge of the box and got a left-footed drive away but it flashed wide.
Two minutes later, Nadesan bursted behind the Leeds defence but his shot was blocked.
Then the last meaningful first half action was Nichols rose highest from a corner, but Casilla saved off the line.
Halftime score: Crawley Town 0-0 Leeds United
So it was a decent first half with both teams creating chances, but it was a level game which meant the possibility of a cup shock was still on the cards.
Before the 2nd half, Bielsa made 3 subs and took both of his defenders off so would this help or hinder Leeds?
After 50 minutes, Hernandez shot high and wide. Then the first big moment as Tsaroulla picked up a knockdown 40 yards from goal, wriggled past 3 Leeds defenders and arrowed a left footed shot across Casilla to put Crawley Town ahead, was the upset on?
Three minutes later, things got even better for Crawley as Leeds tried to play out from the back, but Crawley broke it up and Nichols played in Nadesan , who pulled away from Casey before beating Casilla at the near post from a tight angle, and the upset was REALLY on now.
After 58 minutes Shackleton lobbed the ball across the 6 yard box but Costa couldn’t quite reach it.
On the hour mark, Dallison rifled a volley goalwards and he whacked it into Casey and out for a corner.
After 63 minutes, Costa drilled an effort at goal, but the shot was blocked.
With twenty minutes remaining Matthews whipped in the wide freekick, Nadesan fired the 2nd ball at goal, was saved by Casilla but Tunnicliffe slammed it home , and incredibly, unbelievably it was League 2 Crawley Town 3-0 Premier League Leeds United , surely no coming back from this for Leeds today, but Crawley deserved it.
With 12 minutes left, things could have got even worse for Leeds as Nichols hooked a hopeful pass forwards, Casey made a mess of it under pressure from Watters who skipped past Casilla who was miles out of his goal, took it too wide and Casey blocked it.
After 83 minutes, Raphinha did a left footed shot but was high and wide.
Fulltime score: Crawley Town 3-0 Leeds United
So a poor, poor afternoon for Leeds United as they suffered another humiliating FA Cup defeat to a lower league side.
Leeds fans who have supported them longer than me, have seen more humiliating cup exits than this for example Histon United 10 years ago, or more recently Sutton and Newport.
It means the end of any hopes of a cup run for Leeds which is annoying, as they’re going fairly well in the Premier League, but at the end of the day Crawley Town deserved it, and they’re in the hat for the 4th and 5th round draws on Monday 11th January 2021.
The Radio Leeds commentator for Leeds United said on his Twitter: “Humiliating cup exit again after an horrendous 2nd half when 3 subs were made with Leeds in control of game if not the scoreline. The starting XI were experienced enough to win that but terrible mistakes contribute to a dreadful performance”.
Highlights of this embarrassing cup exit for Leeds United are below:
Next up for Leeds United is a Premier League game at Elland Road against Brighton at 3pm on Saturday 16th January 2021, Leeds surely can do better than this?