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Neilson fires Reds into next round
Scott Neilson came off the bench to curl home a stunning winner as Crawley beat Gillingham 3-2 in the JP Trophy at Broadfield Stadium .
Gillingham had taken the lead through Bradley Dack midway through the first half with Joe Walsh curling in a fine equaliser on his debut five minutes before the break.
Reds took the lead early in the second half when Billy Clarke converted a cross from Nicky Adams at the near post but Lewis Montrose canceled it out almost immediately.
The match looked to be heading for penalties when Neilson cut in from the right wing to fire into the top corner with four minutes to go.
The goal was out of context in a match low on quality in front of a sparse crowd at the Broadfield Stadium.
Crawley enjoyed plenty of possession in the opening stages of the game without threatening to score and were then undone by some woeful defending in the 22nd minute.
A long throw from Chris Whelpdale was allowed to bounce in the area and cleared the heads of two defenders before reaching Dack at the far post who nodded home from six yards.
The goal seemed to sting Crawley into action and they began to find a lot more rhythm to their play.
Mark Connolly went close to levelling in the 38th minute when his effort from 40 yards deflected on to a post for Tommy Forecast well beaten.
Two minutes later Reds did have parity with a fine goal. Connolly spread the ball wide to Nicky Adams and when it eventually came back to Walsh on the edge of the area he curled a shot into the top corner.
Reds could have had the lead before half-time with Mike Jones testing Forecast from 25 yards and then Billy Clarke glancing a header wide from an Adams cross.
They did get their noses in front straight after the restart when Clarke converted a low cross from Adams at the near post.
The lead did not last long though as another long throw from Whelpdale found Montrose at the near post and he turned to fire a low shot inside the far post.
Barker brought on Neilson, Scott Davies and John Akinde in search of a winner and it was Neilson who came up trumps in the 86th minute with an unstoppable shot from 25 yards.