By Grant Elliott
Lewis Young scored a hat-trick as Crawley Town thrashed St. Francis Rangers 6-2 in the Sussex Senior Cup second round.
The Reds were firmly in control for the whole match which was played at their training ground at Oakwood FC.
They created chance after chance and it didn’t take long, before Crawley opened the scoring. Just four minutes into the match and Young scored his and the League One club’s first of the night.
Conor Henderson picked the ball up on the halfway line and played an excellent throughball to Young who was cutting in from the left wing to arrow the ball past goalkeeper Rob Gordon into the bottom right-hand corner.
St Francis barely threatened the home side’s goal in the first-half, but were level on 26 minutes after a terrible mistake by Brian Jensen.
Sam Saunders found the ball at his feet after a poor clearance from the Red Devils’ defence and had a cheeky effort at goal from 30 yards out, Jensen misjudged the situation and what should have been a comfortable save ended up a nightmare as the ball went through his hands and into the back of the net.
However, any hopes Rangers had of a cup upset, were dashed when barely a minute later Ryan Richefond finished off a good Crawley move with a simple tap-in after some brilliant work by Young on the right wing.
Rangers started the second-half strongly and Saunders nearly pulled the scores level after another long-range shot on target, this time however Jensen saved. Yet Young grabbed his second of the night moments later after a mazy run down the left, before cutting inside to curl the ball into the bottom right-hand corner.
Henderson ran rampant in the middle of the park all night and made it 4-1 after picking up a loose ball he ran straight through the heart of the Rangers’ defence before chipping the ball over Gordon’s head.
Rangers continued to try to reduce the deficit but gave the ball away from a corner which allowed Young to complete his hat-trick with over 20 minutes left to play. Charles Banya won possession and quickly broke away before feeding Young the ball, who could have laid it on a plate for either Banya or Gavin Tomlin, but chose to go for goal himself and coolly slotted home.
Rangers’ biggest attacking threat James Westlake duly got the goal that he deserved. A fantastic free-kick on the edge of the Crawley box, this time Jensen had no chance of saving.
Tomlin, who didn’t have much influence on the game at all, then got his name the scoresheet with a strike from the edge of the area, which Gordon could have got to if he was positioned better, making it 6-2.
Crawley Town: Jensen, Bawling, Oyebanjo, Bradley, Richefond, Isaacs, J.Smith, Henderson, Young (Harold 72), Banya, Tomlin.
St Francis Rangers: Gordon, Lawrence, Akehurst, Hawkes (T.Saunders 56), Walsh, Bryant, J.Westlake, S.Saunders, Smith (L.Westlake 63), Weston