Match Report: Hull City 0-1 Crawley Town (Crawley Fan's Perspective)
The early start began with the departure time of 8am, when 13 Crawley Town Supporters Alliance coaches departed from the Broadfield Stadium for the long trip up to Hull.
Arriving in Hull at around 13.30, an influx of away fans joined a good number of home supporters in "The Walton Club", just a stones throw away from the very impressive KC Stadium.
The team news was in with the Tigers resting a number of their bigger, better known names such as Robert Koren, Paul McKenna, Cameron Stewart and Liam Rosenior as well as Aaron McLean who was on the bench. Coming into the side was Josh King, on loan from Manchester United.
Crawley lined up with new signing Sanchez Watt in place of Scott Neilson in midfield as their only change from last week's draw at Plymouth Argyle.
The game kicked off with Crawley immediately taking the game to the home side; after only a couple of minutes Tyrone Barnett managed to wriggle free of Jack Hobbs only to see his shot saved by Mannone. Soon after, Matt Tubbs tried an audacious bicycle kick from a Dean Howell cross only to see his effort fly wide of Mannone's right hand post.
Barnett was next to have a go at the Hull goal when he rounded Arsenal-loanee Mannone only to see his strike cleared off the line by Tom East for a corner.
Hull finally had their first effort on Scott Shearer's goal when Tom Cairney's curling left footed effort was superbly tipped over by the goalkeeper.
Half time came and there were mumbles of "We're doing well", "Hull are poor", "They're there for the taking" and "Just need a goal". Whilst waiting we noticed Aaron McLean getting stripped off and warming up with one of the Tigers' coaching staff... Gulp!
The teams came out and as we predicted, McLean was on and another Manchester United loanee Robbie Brady came off. Crawley looked to up the tempo and after some early pressure David Hunt's corner wasn't cleared by the Hull defence and fell for Claude Davis, whose shot was blocked before his defensive partner Pablo Mills was brilliantly denied by Mannone.
Minutes later, the opening goal finally came. Dannie Bulman's superb pass with the outside of his boot saw Hull's offside trap self-destruct, giving Tubbs the freedom of the City half to take a touch before slotting under Mannone. Behind the goal the stand was bouncing with the optimistic 1,600 visiting supporters dreaming of another Cup upset.
Nick Barmby's side started to lay siege on the Crawley goal; a ball in from the left found Richard Garcia about 8 yards out. The former West Ham player's effort was heading into the bottom corner of the net only for Shearer to fantastically reach down low to his left and flick the ball away for a corner.
The Red Devils then went up the other end of the pitch and the brilliant Kyle McFadzean, playing in a defensive midfield position, saw his ferocious right-footed drive palmed onto the roof of the net by Mannone.
A controversial moment then arose when McLean was sent clear by Corey Evans (brother of Manchester United defender Jonny) only for Shearer to come tearing out of goal. Former Peterborough goal-machine McLean tried to flick the ball over the 'keeper and although City fans were shouting for a handball from Shearer, referee Stuart Attwell deemed it hit the Scot's midriff.
Crawley soon after had a chance to kill Hull off when Barnett saw another effort beat Mannone only to be scrambled off the line by Joe Dudgeon; the ball falling to Watt whose volley skimmed off the post and out for a goal kick.
With the ball bouncing around the Crawley box for the final seven or eight minutes, Reds fans were praying, turning their backs on the game and covering their eyes. One final chance fell to the home side as a last gasp corner saw Mannone go up for it only for Bulman to chase clear and tripped by substitute Mark Cullen. Shearer smashed the ball upfield and Attwell blew his whistle for full time, marking another sensational win for Crawley Town as an exuberant game finally came to a close.
It was a fantastic display from the boys in red, with an awesome display from every single one of the lads; effort, passion, never say die attitude, we had it all.
The next round sees us drawn at home to Stoke City, last year's runners up. There's no doubt it's a difficult game, but on our day we really can beat anyone. Stoke have Europa League matches against Valencia around the time of our game so their manager Tony Pulis may have decisions to make in terms of team selection and resting a few of his so called bigger names - so this is a winnable tie in my opinion.