Crawley 2-0 Fulham: Premier League Cottagers are DUMPED OUT of EFL Cup

Crawley 2-0 Fulham: Premier League side are DUMPED OUT of Carabao Cup as goals from Tom Nichols and James Balagizi send League Two strugglers into third round

  • Crawley pulled off a giant killing in the Carabao Cup to dump out Fulham
  • The League Two side took a shock lead through Tom Nichols after just 16 minutes
  • Crawley then doubled their lead when James Balagizi fired home inside the box
  • There are 84 places between the two sides in the English football pyramid 

Crawley Town provided the shock of the round as the League Two outfit stunned top-flight Fulham, overcoming a gap of 84 league positions.

Goals in either half from Tom Nichols and 18-year-old Liverpool loanee James Balagizi fired Kevin Betsy’s side to their first win of the season against the heavily-rotated Cottagers.

It had been a baptism of fire for Betsy, who took his first managerial role after coaching England’s youth setups and Arsenal Under 23s.

Crawley Town pulled off a giant killing in the Carabao Cup to dump out Fulham on Tuesday

James Balagizi (No 20) fired his low shot into the bottom right corner to double Crawley’s lead

The goal four minutes into the second half put Crawley 2-0 up in the second-round tie

Fulham’s players are left stunned after conceding a second goal so early on in the second half

CRAWLEY TOWN: (3-4-1-2) Addai 6.5; Johnson 6.5, Ransom 7, Mazeed 7; Davis 7.5 (Adebowale 87), Powell 6, Hessenthaler 7, Tsaroulla 6.5 (Omole 46, 6); Balagizi 9 (Marshall 90); Nadesan 8 (Bremang 87), Nichols 9 (Wells 77)

Subs not used: Tilley, Telford, Appiah, Greenwall

Goals: Nichols (16), Balagizi (49)

Bookings: Omole (75)

Coach: Kevin Betsy 9

FULHAM: (4-2-3-1) Rodak 6; Mbabu 7, Duffy 5, Diop 5, Bryan 5 (Ablade 46, 6); Chalobah 4, Cairney 6; Fossey 6, Francois 6, Harris 6 (Godo 46, 6); Stansfield 6

Subs not used: Gazzaniga (GK); D’Auria-Henry, McAvoy, Charlie Robinson, O’Neill, Sekularac, Pajaziti

Goals: None

Bookings: Diop (80)

Coach: Marco Silva 3

Referee: Lee Swabey (England) 6

Venue: Broadfield Stadium

Attendance: 5,577 

But former Fulham player Betsy, 44, has proved himself as an innovative coach with data-led methods, drones in training and a keen interest in sports science, with players subject to regular urine samples.

Betsy had sought advice from Pep Guardiola at Bayern Munich, taken research trips to the likes of Santos in Brazil and wrote a dissertation on youth development in football.

So it was fitting that this was a genuine schooling of the side four divisions higher, despite the fact they had made 10 changes, handing debuts to three players including £15million new signing Issa Diop.

Their slow start was perhaps understandable, then, but Fulham never got going, and this was an embarrassing performance which further underlines the top club’s disrespect to the cups.

Crawley got off to a flying start after Tom Nichols (centre) broke the deadlock early on

Crawley’s No 9 fired home after 16 minutes to give the League Two side a shock lead

Nichols fired his shot through the legs of Duffy and Francois to make it 1-0 in the first half

Nichols celebrates scoring the opening goal in the Carabao Cup second-round tie

Crawley took advantage and roared into an early lead through Nichols’ drilled finish. Then England youth international Balagizi, who had twice come close in the first half, finally got his goal minutes into the second half with a tidy finish from close range.

Shane Duffy came close as he headed over, if anything, the League Two side looked the more likely to score the game’s third goal, as Nichols and then Jack Powell both had decent shots.

Nearly 6,000 fans packed out the stadium and most of the younger ones darted onto the pitch at full-time in celebration at what could be a season-changing win for Betsy’s side.

Fulham’s new signing Kevin Mbabu appeals for a penalty after going down inside the box

Fulham struggled to break down Crawley, with Tom Cairney firing his free-kick into the wall

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