Crawley 2 Oxford United 0 Crawley boss Steve Evans insists match-winner Jamie Cook could play at Championship level.

Cook scored both goals against his home-town club Oxford United as Reds gained revenge for their unfortunate Boxing Day defeat.

The former Boston and Rushden frontman netted an outstanding 40-yard lob to break the deadlock in the second half and added another two minutes later from the penalty spot after Oxford skipper Barry Quinn was sent off.

Cook came through the ranks at Oxford as a youngster and played for the Us in the League.

He had a two-year break away from football to try his hand at being a professional golfer, which Evans believes is the reason Cook is not playing at a higher standard.

He said: "Cook's goal was worthy of any level and I've always said he could play in the Championship.

"He has played there with Oxford in his early days as a teenager and he could certainly be playing at that level now.

"At Oxford, he was a victim of them wanting to sign Championship players when they were in League One.

"I watched him a number of times and he was different class as a kid and when I signed him (for Boston) he was magnificent in the Conference.

"He left football to become a pro golfer and I think that set him back. People start questioning your ambition and your tenacity and what you are about.

"But when I came down to Crawley the first time I met the owners, I brought a list of players I wanted and Jamie Cook was one of them. He is a magic talent and he is a big part of our plan in going forward."

Cook has been one of Crawley's most impressive players since he arrived from Havant and Waterlooville in the summer.

He has mainly been utilised in a wide role but has shown in the last two games what damage he can do up front.

He scored a superb individual effort in Saturday's 5-1 win at Farsley Celtic and hit one of the best goals seen at Broadfield Stadium for years to set Reds on their way to victory yesterday.

There seemed no danger when he picked the ball up close to the centre circle in United's half on 67 minutes and appeared to be shaping to hit a long pass to the right wing.

But he took everyone by surprise, not lease Oxford keeper Billy Turley, when he sent a shot over the hapless stopper and into the gaping net.

Golfing mad Cook said: "I looked up and saw him (Turley) off his line and thought, why not?

"I have done it quite a lot in my career but have not scored. It was a bit like a golf shot, a floater with a bit of back spin on it just to stop it in the net."

Cook sealed the points with his second moments later after substitute Jon-Paul Pittman won a spot-kick.

Pittman, who made Reds a more attacking threat after coming on, outpaced Quinn to a ball over the top and was fouled by the defender as he was about to shoot.

The referee had little choice but to give a penalty and show a straight red to the Oxford man.

Cook revealed he earned some extra cash by blasting home from 12-yards after making a bet with United striker Rob Duffy.

He said: "One of their lads said that their keeper had saved the last four penalties and that there was no way I was going to score.

"So I said to him do you want to bet a tenner, I will guarantee I will score'. I have to find him to get my money now."

Cook admits being the match-winner against the club he supported as a boy was a bitter-sweet moment.

He said: "I have played against them a few times before and not scored so it was nice. But I want them to go on and do well because I come from there and support them.

"I have a lot of friends in Oxford and wish them well. I don't think they should be in this league but this was not about them, it was about us and it was a good three points."

Crawley: Bayes, Watson, Stevens, Wilson, Bull, Bulman, Thompson, Pinault, Blackburn (Evans 87), Cook, Joseph-Dubois (Pittman 58, Carayol 94). Subs not used: Vieira, Murphy.

Booked: Bull (90) foul.

Oxford: Turley, Clarke (Taylor 63), Jeannin, Quinn, Foster, Day, Hutchinson, Pettefer (Corcoran 88), Trainer, Ledgister (Duffy 46), Odubade. Subs not used: Warrell, Barnes.

Booked: Clarke (6) foul, Ledgister (35) foul, Jeannin (88) dissent.

Sent off: Quinn (68) professional foul.

How good is Jamie Cook?