DAVIS: CREWE SECOND BEST
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.”
UPENDED: Ross Lafayette of Eastleigh is brought down for a penalty