Premier League Leeds United suffered one of the FA Cup’s biggest shocks with a 3-0 defeat by fourth-tier Crawley Town in the third round on Sunday.
Leeds’ Argentine manager Marcelo Bielsa made seven changes yet still fielded a strong line-up for the trip to West Sussex but League Two Crawley, a non-league club until nine years ago, produced a performance to remember.
Crawley’s squad contains several players who failed to make the grade at the top level and manager John Yems was delighted with their display.
“These players have got a lot to prove to the clubs who have released them and we’ve showed what we can do against a really good side in Leeds,” he said.
“You have to enjoy these games – you work hard enough for it. It was a really good team performance and it’s clear that we’ve got 11 star men,” added Yems.
While the FA Cup is known for producing surprises, particularly at this stage, it is rare for a top flight team to be beaten by such a decisive margin.
Since the creation of the Football League’s fourth tier in 1958, this is only the second time a top-flight side has lost by three or more goals to opposition from that level in this competition.
Former Tottenham Hotspur youth player Nick Tsaroulla stunned the Yorkshire side in the 50th minute with a superb individual goal as he wriggled free of his marker before drilling the ball into the far corner.
Ashley Nadesan doubled the advantage, breaking into the box and driving a low shot which Leeds keeper Kiko Casilla failed to keep out at his near post.
The third came when Nadesan’s low drive was saved by Casilla at close-range but Jordan Tunnicliffe pounced to smash the ball home.
“We’ll take anyone from the Premier League here – we’re trying to make this place a fortress,” Nadesan said.
“The whole club has done everyone proud today. The first goal was a bit of a shock but to get the second goal straight after was really big.”
Leeds’ Macedonian midfielder Ezgjan Alioski was stunned.
“We are really disappointed…especially me I’m really sad, we took the game really seriously and we wanted to win and go on a run so it is disappointing.
“Crawley played the game of their lives, and congratulations, and to beat us 3-0, I still can’t believe it,” he said.