Carabao Cup roundup: League Two strugglers Crawley knock out Fulham

Struggling Crawley set aside their miserable League Two form to claim a third Premier League scalp in four seasons by dumping Fulham out of the Carabao Cup with a stunning 2-0 success.

Kevin Betsy’s side sit second bottom of the English Football League following a single point from five games but deservedly progressed to round three thanks to goals from captain Tom Nichols and Liverpool loanee James Balagizi. The hosts held on comfortably to prompt a pitch invasion after the final whistle.

“The players put in an amazing performance,” said former Fulham midfielder Betsy, whose team overcame League One outfit Bristol Rovers in the first round. “We were relentless in our pressing and our application. We stuck to the game plan extremely well. It worked. It was a fantastic night for everyone. Fulham are a good side. When I looked at the team sheet, I was like ‘Oh my God, there are a lot of good players in there’. We’re going through a little difficult patch in the league but in the cup we’re doing quite well.”

Bournemouth manager Scott Parker praised the character of his young side as they twice came from behind before beating Norwich on penalties to reach the third round. Former Cherries loanee Todd Cantwell missed the decisive penalty in a tense shootout after Adam Idah thought he had marked a return from a six-month injury lay-off with a late winner off the bench, only for Brooklyn Genesini to pull Bournemouth level in stoppage time and secure a 2-2 draw.

Steven Gerrard felt his Aston Villa side gave themselves just the lift they needed as they came from behind to beat Bolton 4-1. After a frustrating start to the season and a tough run of fixtures in the coming weeks, a cup shock at the University of Bolton Stadium on Tuesday could have made life uncomfortable for Villa and Gerrard. Yet despite falling behind to their determined League One opponents, the Premier League outfit produced a strong performance to ease into the third round.

“You are always looking for the right reaction and response,” said Gerrard, thinking back to Saturday’s defeat at Crystal Palace. “The players and I know that the performance and result at the weekend were not good enough.”

Elsewhere, Premier League newcomers Nottingham Forest eased to a 3-0 win at Grimsby Town and Wolverhampton Wanderers beat second-tier Preston North End 2-1. Crystal Palace scored two late goals to win 2-0 at Oxford United, their first win in the competition since 2018.

Brentford bounced back from their weekend defeat by Fulham to win 2-0 at fourth-tier Colchester United. Che Adams maintained his scoring form with two goals as Southampton won 3-0 at Cambridge United. Adams also scored twice at the weekend as Southampton beat Leicester City.