Metropolitan Police 1-2 Crawley Town
The FA Cup with Budweiser
First Round Proper
3pm, Saturday 3 November 2012
Winning club will receive £18,000 from The FA prize fund
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by Alex Shaw
Metropolitan Police's FA Cup dream was shattered once again by Crawley on Saturday afternoon.
Josh Simpson opened the scoring in the first half for Crawley, who came back to end the Met Police's Cup charge.
They knocked the boys in blue out of The Cup at this stage back in 1993 and they did so again, with Billy Clarke making it 2-0 after the break.
To their credit, the Met battled back and grabbed a late goal through Alan Tait but it was not enough.
This was the biggest game in the Met Police's 93-year history but the occasion may have got to them early on as Crawley dominated.
Both Mark Connolly and Dannie Bulman had shots at goal inside the first five minutes and the latter's effort cannoned off the bar.
Connolly again threatened early on but Jamie Butler was equal to it and the Met Police goalkeeper then denied Billy Clarke as Crawley continued to press.
Crawley were forced into an early substitution when Mat Sadler was introduced for Nathan Byrne but it did not disrupt their rhythm too much, with Sergio Torres again calling Butler into action.
Imber Court was in good voice for this clash and the home fans were buoyed by the side's resilience in the first half.
It took 36 minutes to break them and Butler may have been at fault.
A ball through the middle caught the home side out and Simpson beat Butler to the ball and tucked home.
Crawley have reached the Fifth Round in each of the past two seasons and despite stubborn resistance here, they are up and running in this season's competition.
The hosts began well in the second half and started to pressurize Crawley, with Howard Newton making Paul Jones work in the visitors' goal.
But Clarke's strike on 69 minutes took the wind out of their sails and gave the League One side the security of a second.
Tait then tucked home the rebound after Craig Brown's effort cannoned off the bar but despite a stirring late rally, the home side bowed out.