Double trouble as Josh bags timely two
JOSH McQuoid netted a spectacular second-half double, including a last minute winner, to seal Luton Town’s 11th FA Cup first round win from their last 12 to delight boss John Still.
McQuoid put the visitors ahead with a stunning long-range effort before Matt Harrold equalised for the hosts.The tie looked to be heading for a replay before McQuoid capitalised on a defensive mix-up to steal the win.
With only one win in their last five league games, Still confirmed it was all about progressing:
“I thought we started slowly but once we got into it we played well,” he said. “Away from home in the cup you’re always delighted when you win and in the second-half we played well.”
And on Luton’s hero McQuoid, Still added: “Josh’s form has improved since when he started here. He hasn’t had a lot of football but I think people are seeing now that he is a good player. He has to add goals to his game so hopefully he can do that and he has to believe he can.”
An entertaining first half managed to finish goalless despite both teams having good chances.
Crawley started the brighter; keen to amend their poor home goal-scoring record that has seen them score just five goals in eight games.
First, Rhys Murphy’s dipping volley went narrowly over before Luke Wilkinson crucially blocked Roarie Deacon’s shot inside the area. Luton’s Jonathan Smith forced Reds goalkeeper Darryl Flahavan into a good save.
Luke Guttridge wasted a decent chance for the visitors, shooting wide following some good work by Jack Marriott.
Deacon’s effort from range fell kindly into the path of Murphy and his goal bound toe-poke was saved by the legs of Elliot Justham as Crawley pushed for a breakthrough minutes from half-time.
McQuoid started the second-half with a bang, curling a shot from 25 yards over Flahavan in front of the 487 travelling Luton fans behind the goal.
Their lead lasted just ten minutes, though, as Harrold rose highest to head home the equaliser.
Buoyed by the goal, Crawley had a great chance to go ahead but Murphy skied over. Moments later, Reds captain Sonny Bradley had the majority of the home fans celebrating, but in fact his header had hit the side netting.
McQuoid made Crawley pay for their missed chances, firing in from ten yards, leaving Reds manager Mark Yates disappointed.
Yates said: “We’re pretty solid and organised and we’re not bad when we do what we’re good at.
“Just like we showed in the first-half, but we couldn’t quite match that intensity in the second.
“We’re on a good run in the league and long may that continue.”
STAR MAN JOSH McQUOID