Smith fires Crawley into Cup Final
Jimmy Smith stole the show as Crawley Town saw off Saltdean United to reach the Parafix Sussex Senior Challenge Cup Final.
Outclassed and outfought, Crawley triumphed 6-0 in a convincing display which saw a hat-trick, tough tackles and a red card.
Man-of-the-match, Jimmy Smith, put three goals past Rikki Banks - with his third certainly grabbing the headlines.
Despite this, Saltdean had the first opportunity of the match, with Josh Jones shooting straight at Yusuf Mersin for his first save of a quiet night at Culver Road.
Even though the Reds dominated throughout the night, it took until the thirtieth minute for them to find the back of the net.
After countless opportunities from Moussa Sanoh and Mark Randall, it was the star man Smith who opened the scoring. Josh Doherty, who was a constant threat throughout, played a teasing ball into the path of the Crawley captain, and he slid in at the back post to convert.
Just minutes later Randall joined Smith on the scoresheet. Once again Doherty began the move, passing the ball to Sanoh and eventually finding its way to Randall, who converted calmly into the bottom right hand corner.
The Saltdean players were growing frustrated and multiple tough tackles occurred within the space of just a few seconds, and just before the break Saltdean captain, Craig Hall, was booked for a late challenge, something that he would later regret.
Panatuche Camara was brought on at half-time for the Reds to provide further attacking threat, and after a mazy run by Sanoh, who eventually rounded the keeper, he presented the opportunity for the substitute to slot home for 3-0.
It then went from bad to worse for Saltdean, as Crawley’s lead grew further thanks to a Smith penalty. Full-back Aryan Tajbakhsh played an inviting ball into the penalty area where United defender Matt Fleming fouled substitute Jordan Roberts.
The fans certainly got their money’s worth as they witnessed a true spectacle in the form of Smith’s wonder goal for Crawley’s fifth and the captains third.
The Reds skipper made a driving run down the right flank, cut inside onto his weaker left foot and curled an impressive strike into the top corner.
In the final moments Hall received his marching orders after picking up a second yellow card for a foul on Sanoh and that epitomised Saltdean’s evening.
Furthermore, in the dying moments of the match, Camara completes the scoring following a pinpoint cross from Sanoh, to send Crawley comfortably through to the Parafix Sussex Senior Challenge Cup Final.
(A selection of photographs can be found on Facebook - courtesy of Simon Roe Photography)
Stats: (Saltdean United-Crawley Town)
Goals: 0-6; Shots: 4-14; Shots on target: 1-8; Corners: 1-4; Fouls 5-4; Offside: 1-5.
Saltdean United: Banks, Fleming (60), Pryor, Millis, Rowland, Hall, Marshall (64), Shooman, O’Toole, Fraser, Jones.
Substitutes: Barker (60), Jeffrey (64), O’Brien, Fogden.
Crawley Town: Mersin, Taybakhsh, Yorwerth, McNerney, Doherty, Randall (49), Payne (45), Bulman, Sanoh, Boldewijn (54), Smith.
Substitutes: Morris, Cox (54), Valentine, Roberts (49), Camara (45).
Match report by Tom Kelly