Two late goals from substitute Anass Zaroury broke Crawley’s stubborn resistance and gave Burnley a hard-earned 3-1 win to reach the Carabao Cup fourth round.
The third round tie at Turf Moor looked as if it might have to be settled by a shoot-out as the Clarets spurned chance after chance to kill off the League Two side, who had taken the scalps of League One Bristol Rovers and Premier League Fulham to earn the trip to Turf Moor.
But Zaroury, who had been sent on as a 56th-minute substitute, eased their growing frustrations when he tapped the ball home from a couple of yards out in the 79th minute after Ashley Barnes had touched on Manuel Benson’s low cross. And he added his second with a similar close-range finish in the 90th minute from fellow sub Vitinho’s cross.
Vincent Kompany’s Championship leaders returned to winning ways after Saturday’s 5-2 defeat to Sheffield United ended their 17-game unbeaten run – but they had to work hard hard for the victory against a team 67 places below them in the League ladder.
With one eye on Sunday’s top-of-the-table local derby clash with neighbours Blackburn, Kompany made nine changes, Bensen and and Samuel Bastien the only survivors from the starting line-up at Bramhall Lane.
Crawley interim boss Lewis Young reacted to their 4-1 FA Cup exit to Accrington by making seven changes.
The Clarets dominated form the start and Barnes should have put them ahead after 10 minutes but scooped a close-range chance over the bar after Luke McNally had headed down Johann Berg Gudmundsson’s corner.
Gudmundsson looked certain to score from Benson’s cut-back but his goal-bound shot struck Harry Ransom and flew over. Then McNally volleyed over from another Gudmundsson corner.
But Crawley stunned the home side when they took the lead after 23 minutes with a classic ‘route one’ goal. Goalkeeper Ellery Balcombe’s long goal kick dropped over the heads of Burnley’s back line allowing Burnley-born striker Dominic Telford to run on and fire past Bailey Peacock-Farrell.
It took Burnley only a minute to equalise however, with Barnes making up for his earlier miss by sending a looping header into the far corner of the net from Charlie Taylor’s cross – for his first goal from open play since February 2021.
Burnley continued to dominate and should have been comfortably ahead by half-time, with Benson seeing one shot tipped over by Balcombe and another clip the bar after deflecting off Joel Lynch.
The one-way traffic continued after the break, with Barnes failing to turn in a low cross from Benson before Bastien fired narrowly wide after being released by Lowton.
Kompany sent on Josh Brownhill and Zaroury just before the hour mark and it did the trick.
Zaroury came close to making an immediate impact by curling a shot from a tight angle on to the roof of the net but the Belgium Under-21 international made the breakthrough with his two close-range finishes to put the Clarets in good heart for Sunday’s derby.
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