Crawley man scores first senior goal as Leeds blitzed out of FA Cup

Ashley Nadesan

Crawley left-back Nicholas Tsaroulla scored his first ever senior goal as the League Two side shocked Premier League Leeds out of the FA Cup with a 3-0 victory.

The hosts were much better on the day as their resolute game plan thwarted Leeds from showing their usual energetic performance.

But Crawley matched that by taking their own chances and fully deserved their progression to the fourth round.

Tsaroulla’s goal was even more significant for the 21-year-old for given that he missed a year of football while at Tottenham’s academy in 2017 after being involved in a car crash.

Leeds had 75 per cent possession in the first half but Crawley’s dogged approach prevented the visitors from bringing out their usual fast-paced style of play.

Nevertheless, Ian Poveda was lively throughout. Indeed, the 20-year-old was in action straight away but Crawley’s bodies at the back stopped his progression.

Crawley also posed a threat throughout the first half and Jack Powell missed with a curling effort wide of the right-hand post.

The Whites thought they should have had a penalty when, after Helder Costa’s cross from the right, Rodrigo went down under contact. However, their calls were quickly waved away.

Kiko Casilla, Tom Nichols

But for all Leeds’ dominance, Crawley had arguably the best chance to take the lead, when Leeds goalkeeper Kiko Casilla had to swat away Tom Nichols’ powerful close-range header.

After that chance, it was the hosts who stunned their visitors to go 2-0 up with goals three minutes apart in the second half.

Crawley produce second-half shock

Nicholas Tsaroulla

Tsaroulla’s opener after 50 minutes was his first ever senior goal and it came in some style. After spinning past Jamie Shackleton, Oliver Casey and Kalvin Phillips, he struck past Casilla in similarly expert fashion.

Forward Ashley Nadesan then won a battle with Casey down the right and managed to beat Casilla from a tough angle, although the ball did bobble up in front of the stopper.

In response, Leeds pushed forward but an offside against Shackleton was the best they could muster for the next 10 minutes.

Indeed, the Whites’ second-half nightmare continued when Jordan Tunnicliffe smashed into the roof of the net from five yards out after pinball in the Leeds box.

It could soon have been four when Mark Watters nicked the ball ahead of the onrushing Casilla. However, Watters could not compose himself to fire into the empty net.

Nevertheless, Leeds failed to muster a decent chance in what remained of the match and were well beaten on the day.