DAVIS: CREWE SEC­OND BEST

The Football League Paper - - FA CUP FIRST ROUND - By Colin Hen­rys

AHALF-TIME rol­lick­ing from boss Steve Davis was not enough to stop ten-man Crewe be­ing dumped out of the FA Cup against Na­tional League vis­i­tors Eastleigh.

Davis ad­mit­ted stern words had been ex­changed at the break af­ter a flat first half, but worse was to fol­low as goal­keeper Ben Gar­rett was sent off and re­place­ment keeper Dani­jel Nezic con­ceded a penalty.

Eastleigh skip­per Ben Strevens con­verted the spot kick to earn the non-league side vic­tory in their first com­pet­i­tive fix­ture against Foot­ball League op­po­nents.

And Davis con­ceded Crewe fully de­served their loss.

“I think the play­ers let the fans down,” he said af­ter his side were booed off by the home sup­port­ers at the fi­nal whis­tle.

“The fans can blame me for that but at the end of the day this is the same team that beat Sh­effield United last week.The same group of play­ers have pro­duced a per­for­mance well be­low the level it should be.

“It looked like boys against men. They were phys­i­cal with us and we couldn’t stand up to it.

“We knew that would be the case but we had to do bet­ter than that.

“It’s the FA Cup for god’s sake – pas­sion, pride.You’ve got the red shirt on and we want them to pro­duce a per­for­mance that’s cred­i­ble and we were nowhere near that.”

Yemi Odubade was a con­stant nui­sance up front for Eastleigh and nearly put the vis­i­tors ahead on 39 min­utes, only for Ben Nu­gent to block on the line.

Eastleigh’s hopes of a cup shock were buoyed when Gar­rett was sent off for a pro­fes­sional foul on 62 min­utes though, af­ter Odubade beat him to a long ball for­wards.

Nezic re­placed him be­tween the sticks, but failed to gather an­other long ball on 75 min­utes and tripped Ross Lafayette in the area – al­low­ing former Da­gen­ham & Red­bridge star Strevens to coolly con­vert the spot-kick.

Odubade could have put the re­sult be­yond doubt on 82 min­utes, af­ter Andy Drury’s clever lobbed pass, but volleyed over with only Nezic to beat.

He was not to rue the miss, how­ever, and de­lighted Eastleigh boss Chris Todd ad­mit­ted he was in dream­land.

“It’s an amaz­ing ex­pe­ri­ence,” he said.

“To get a gi­ant-killing like this – and it is, be­cause they’re a League One team and we’re in the Na­tional League – it’s a proud mo­ment.

“I’m proud of my play­ers be­cause that per­for­mance was top, top drawer.

“Re­gard­less of the red card, I thought we were the bet­ter team on the day.

“The lads have re­ally, re­ally put in a shift and they de­serve all the credit that I hope is now go­ing to come their way.

“The league is our pri­or­ity but the FA Cup is bril­liant for ev­ery­body in­volved.

“The play­ers are buzzing, and so am I.

“We have to be­lieve now that we are ca­pa­ble of do­ing some­thing this sea­son.”

PIC­TURES: Paul Pax­ford

UP­ENDED: Ross Lafayette of Eastleigh is brought down for a penalty

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