Cheltenham Town: Resilient Robins edge a Crawley Cup classic
CHELTENHAM TOWN 4 CRAWLEY TOWN 3 (AFTER EXTRA TIME)
BYRON Harrison scored twice and won a penalty as Cheltenham Town shocked Crawley Town to progress to second round of the League Cup for the first time in five years on a night of high drama at the Abbey Business Stadium.
An enthralling tie appeared to be destined for penalties, but Harrison tucked away his third goal of the season with six minutes of extra-time remaining to take Cheltenham through and show that all is not lost after Jamie Cureton's opening day shoulder injury which will keep him out for six weeks.
The League One club made by far the brighter start, with attacking full-back James Hurst and right midfielder Mike Jones in front of him prominent.
Traditional Shave, Facial Treatment, Whisky and a Shoe Shine -...View details
Gents, enjoy a traditional shave, facial treatment, glass of whisky and a shoeshine for £31
Terms: Early and later appointments available upon request.
Contact: 01242 504887
Valid until: Tuesday, December 31 2013
Jones fired over from Nicky Adams' corner in the second minute and he then forced Scott Brown into a save.
Cheltenham's first effort at goal was a looping header from Troy Brown after Steve Elliott reached Matt Richards' corner from the right, but it was easily caught by Paul Jones.
Crawley took a deserved lead in the 23rd minute when Hurst's cross was nodded in by a stooping Gary Alexander.
The 33-year-old has so often been the scourge of Cheltenham in the past, netting against them for Exeter City, Hull City, Leyton Orient and Millwall since 1999.
His eighth goal past a Cheltenham goalkeeper seemed to spark Mark Yates' side into life and they almost responded immediately.
Craig Braham-Barrett's cross was met by the head of Terry Gornell at the near post and only a fingertip save from Paul Jones denied him a first goal for the club.
Gornell once again showed impressive hold-up play and battling qualities, holding onto possession effectively under considerable pressure.
Steve Elliott nodded a corner wide and Richards scuffed a long-range effort after Russ Penn's pass.
But Cheltenham levelled five minutes before half-time after Sam Deering played in Harrison.
The tall striker looked set to unleash a shot, but he turned inside and was tripped by Mat Sadler.
Richards confidently dispatched from the spot to open his account for Cheltenham, who finished the half strongly after a sluggish start.
They very nearly took the lead three minutes after the break when a poor pass from Kyle McFadzean was cut out by Penn, who worked the ball onto his left foot and crashed a shot against the bar.
The rebound fell to Gornell, who blasted just over with Crawley rattled and Deering went close after good play from Harrison.
It was all Cheltenham, but Crawley scored a fortuitous goal in the 59th minute after several missed opportunities for the home side to clear their lines.
After some sloppy play, Deering's attempted clearance hit Adams and flew past Scott Brown into the bottom left corner.
Cheltenham's impetus was lost and they conceded again in the 64th minute when the impressive Hurst linked up with Jamie Proctor to set up Adams, who showed neat footwork to cut inside his man near the edge of the six yard box and slot into an empty net.
Crawley looked to have one foot in round two, but McFadzean was bundled off the ball by Gornell.
The defender went down looking for a free-kick, but play was allowed to continue and Gornell was all alone, with only Jones to beat.
The goalkeeper blocked his first effort, but he slotted in the rebound in the 70th minute to restore hope.
Scott Brown saved well from Josh Simpson to keep Cheltenham in it and Harrison headed in Deering's corner in the 75th minute to make it 3-3.
Substitute Billy Clarke saw a shot parried and Harrison nodded across from Penn over the bar from a good position in the 84th minute as both teams searched for a winner.
Simpson was once again denied by Scott Brown's alert reactions in the final seconds as an extra 30 minutes was needed to separate the sides.
Brown blocked from Adams at his near post and Clarke smashed an effort over the bar in the first period of extra-time, which saw the introduction of one-time Robins target Luke Rooney, who has joined Crawley on loan from Swindon Town until January.
Elliott hobbled off, replaced by Keith Lowe before Zack Kotwica was sent on in place of Jermaine McGlashan on the wing, but it was Harrison's night and Cheltenham celebrated.
CHELTENHAM TOWN: S Brown; S Jombati, T Brown, S Elliott (K Lowe 104), C Braham-Barrett; J McGlashan (Z Kotwica 109), R Penn, M Richards, S Deering (A Vincent 101); B Harrison, T Gornell. Subs not used: B Jones, J Taylor, C Roberts, J Hanks
CRAWLEY TOWN: P Jones; J Hurst (L Rooney 101), K McFadzean, J Walsh M Sadler; N Adams, D Bulman (A Drury 79), J Simpson, M Jones; G Alexander, J Proctor (B Clarke 71). Subs not used: M Connolly, C Essam, S Torres, J Maddison.
REFEREE: O Langford.
ATTENDANCE: 1,562 (117 away).
STAR MAN: Terry Gornell.