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Reds crush ten-man Chelmsford in FA Cup
Crawley cruised into the third round of the FA Cup for the third year in a row as they brushed aside ten-man Chelmsford City 3-0.
Nicky Adams gave Reds the lead in the 23rd minute before Chelmsford had Donnovan Simmonds sent off.
Billy Clarke doubled the advantage just before the break and after relentless pressure in the second half Crawley finally scored a third when Gary Alexander converted from the penalty spot.
There were 67 places between the two sides and it showed with Crawley missing a series of chances which could have given them an even more emphatic scoreline.
After a slow start Crawley gradually took control of the game and had put the visitors under prolonged pressure before they took the lead.
Gary Alexander, Josh Simpson and Billy Clarke had all tested Stuart Searle and it was no surprise when Adams broke the deadlock in the 23rd minute.
The midfielder cut in from the right to try his luck from a tight angle and Searle somehow let the ball slip through his hands at the near post.
Sergio Torres and Mat Sadler – on a rare foray forward – went close to extending the lead before Chelmsford's task was made even harder with the dismissal of Simmonds in the 35th minute.
The City midfielder had already been booked for a poor challenge on Adams when he tripped Sadler to give the referee no option but to send him off.
The Blue Square Bet south side suffered another blow as they conceded a second four minutes before the interval. David Hunt swung over a deep cross to the far post and Clarke met it crisply on the volley to steer the ball low past Searle.
Crawley continued to lay siege to the Chelmsford goal after the break but the third goal just would not come.
Mark Connolly rattled the underside of the bar from 35 yards while Clarke wasted a glorious chance when he fired high and wide from six yards.
Clarke limped off straight after that miss and his replacement, John Akinde, headed a good chance over from six yards.
The third goal finally came in the 89th minute when Torres was brought down in the area by Anthony Cook. Alexander stepped up to send Searle the wrong way from the spot to end a run of 17 games without a goal.
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