By Chris Barnes
Crawley Town suffered Capital One Cup heartache on Tuesday after a last-gasp goal from Garry Monk gave Swansea a 3-2 win.
The Sussex team were leading 2-1 with 14 minutes left thanks to goals from midfielders Josh Simpson and Hope Akpan before the Premier League outfit staged a late comeback.
Crawley didn’t get off to the best start, with a mistake from new loan signing Nathan Byrne almost letting striker Luke Moore in for an early goal.
Michu and Wayne Routledge also missed chances for Swansea early on, before the two linked up for the Spanish midfielder to score in the 27th minute.
Swansea continued to waste chances as the half went on, with Michu hitting the ball straight at Crawley keeper Paul Jones before Moore missed another good opportunity.
As the first half drew to a close Crawley started to put some pressure on the visitors, and a goal just before half time was no less than they deserved. An overhead kick from striker Billy Sharp had almost drawn the hosts level before Josh Simpson’s speculative shot after a failed clearance went in off a huge deflection.
Crawley came out for the second half thinking they could win the match and started much the brighter of the two sides, with a shot from Jonathan Forte testing Swansea keeper Gerhard Tremmel early on.
It wasn’t long afterwards that Crawley took the lead, with another run from Forte setting up Hope Akpan to score, to the delight of the home fans.
Soon after, Forte wasted another chance to make it 3-1, his tame shot easily saved by Tremmel.
Crawley were made to rue these misses on 74 minutes; a cross from Teindalli found the head of Danny Graham, who made it 2-2.
And as the game headed towards extra time, Garry Monk’s header from Routledge’s corner sealed the win and sent the Premier League side through.
Speaking to BBC Sport, Crawley manager Richie Barker was not too downhearted after the game, instead choosing to focus on the performance his side put in.
“The pleasing thing is the performance again,” he said.
“I thought at 2-1 the next goal was important. We’ve lost out to the odd goal to Manchester United, Stoke and now Swansea. We are getting closer as we are scoring against them.”
Swansea manager Michael Laudrup expressed relief after the match, saying “It’s good to get that win. When you lose more than one game it’s really important to get back on track.
“I was worrying that we’d have to go into extra time, which wouldn’t have been so good.”