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Football: 10-man Stoke end Crawley's FA Cup run


LONDON: Stoke City booked their place in this season's FA Cup quarter-finals with a 2-0 win away to fourth-tier Crawley Town on Sunday despite playing most of the match a man down after Rory Delap was sent off.

Goals either side of half-time, courtesy of a Jonathan Walters penalty and a Peter Crouch header, saw Stoke, last season's beaten finalists, make it into the last eight.

Stoke's victory ended the FA Cup run of League Two side Crawley, the lowest-ranked club left in the tournament, who also reached the fifth round stage of English football's leading knockout competition last season.

But Premier League Stoke suffered an early setback when Delap was shown a straight red card by referee Mike Jones for a lunging challenge on David Hunt in the 17th minute.

"We're one win away from Wembley again and it would be lovely if we could get a home tie," said Stoke manager Tony Pulis, whose side have had three away matches in this season's competition.

Asked about Delap's red card, he added: "There is a big problem within the game in that I think professional people and referees are so far apart in what they see in terms of what are fair challenges or competitive challenges and the bad, reckless challenges.

"We had a fourth official (Lee Probert) today who I think has got Rory sent off.

"He has refereed a game against Liverpool and not even booked a player for what was the worst challenge in the Premier League this year in (Yohan) Cabaye's challenge on (Jay) Spearing.

"Lee was five yards away and the difference between what we think and sometimes what referees think is enormous."

Crawley manager Steve Evans was also unhappy with the officiating.

"I think we're unfortunate to go out this year," he said. "I think I probably take it harder this year than I did going out at Manchester United.

"I can't help but be disappointed by the match referee. I think from a second-half perspective, he has had a poor game for me and he is normally a very good referee."

Three minutes before half-time Crawley's Kyle McFadzean found himself playing an unwanted role when he tangled with Ryan Shawcross in the Crawley box.

There was enough contact for Jones to point to the spot and Walters's driven low penalty had too much on it for Crawley keeper Rene Gilmartin.

Stoke, who lost to Manchester City in last season's final at Wembley, went into the break 1-0 up and seven minutes after half-time England striker Crouch had doubled their lead in typical fashion when he headed in a free-kick.

- AFP/ac/de

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