Crawley 1, Fleetwood 2

Crawley fans called for boss Gabriele Cioffi to be sacked as their side bowed out of the FA Cup.

Defeat, to a controversial Paddy Madden goal which was also scrappy in the extreme, was in itself no disgrace against League One high-flyers who have now won five in a row.

But the cumulative effect of recent defeats and performances has led to a serious disconnect between Cioffi and what seems a significant portion of the fan base.

Whether that explains a last-minute decision by club owner Ziya Eren to put in a rare appearance at the People’s Pension Stadium is unclear.

But frustrations boiled over yesterday as Reds missed the chance of cash and excitement in the third round.

Supporters behind the goal called for the Italian boss to be shown the door and Cioffi was well aware of the chants.

He said: “I hear everything, I’m here on the bench.

“I have nothing to say. They are supporters and, about me, they can say what they want.

“If they boo the entire squad, because the boos at the end were in general, then I do not agree at all.”

In fact, most of the negative reaction was aimed specifically at Cioffi.

He argued fans should offer more support, referring back to one of their better cup nights.

Cioffi said: “The help of the supporters was a great boost against Norwich but I haven’t again felt that atmosphere.

“Probably a bit of effort from every side could turn our situation.”

Asked if he had spoken to Eren, he replied: “I said hello to him before the game but I didn’t have chance to speak to him after.”

Asked if they would talk, he added: “As always. I am an employee, he is my owner. He can call me 24/7.

“I don’t regret what I’m doing here at Crawley.

“I’m working with love and with patience. If it works, it works, If it doesn’t work, then God has another plan for me.”

The chants for Cioffi to be sacked started after he replaced left-back David Sesay.

But Cioffi said the player was lucky to stay on for as long as he did.

He added: “I think David Sesay should be substituted in the first half. I gave him another ten minutes but I wasn’t happy with the way he was playing so I thought we’d play with a left-footer on that side so we could have more fluid building of the play.”

Fleetwood opened the scoring on 41 minutes.

Ched Evans got his head to a Wes Burns cross and Josh Morris turned the ball home from quite a tight angle.

Fleetwood had got on top after quite a bright start by Crawley, though not one which saw them test keeper Billy Crellin.

But they were floundering as Ollie Palmer moved on to Ashley Nadesan’s touch and thumped a finish past Crellin on 44 minutes.

Fleetwood sub Madden wasted no time putting Fleetwood back ahead on 66 minutes, being credited with the final touch after Lewis Coyle chipped the ball across goal.

Glenn Morris seemed to be fouled by Evans as he let it slip from his grasp.

The loose ball then possibly crossed the line off defender Jordan Tunnicliffe before Madden followed up to make sure.

Cioffi said with some justification Evans impeded the keeper and should have been penalised and booked.

Bez Lubala, who warmed his boots on the radiator in the changing room in a bid to beat the chill, fired narrowly over late on.

But the heat is now on his boss.

Crawley: Morris; Young, Tunnicliffe, Dallison, Sesay (Doherty 68); Bulman, Francomb (Ferguson 78); Grego-Cox, Lubala; Nadesan, Palmer.

Fleetwood: Crellin; Coyle, Eastham, Souttar, Andrew; Morris, Dempsey, Sowerby, Coutts, Burns (Madden 64); Evans (Garner 90+3).

Referee: Matthew Donohue. Attendance: 2,000.