Tom Nichols nets hat-trick as Crawley edge 11-goal FA Cup thriller at Torquay
Tom Nichols scored a hat-trick to help Crawley produce a stunning comeback in extra-time and claim a 6-5 victory at Torquay in the FA Cup first round.
John Yems’ Sky Bet League Two side scored three times in 10 minutes, Nichols getting two of them, to stun the National League leaders at Plainmoor and book their place in Monday’s second-round draw.
Aaron Nemane (18) and Ben Whitfield (24) had Torquay in control of the tie and – with seven minutes remaining – there was little indication of the goal drama which was to follow.
But Nichols pulled a goal back with a penalty and Max Watters levelled in the 14th minute of time added on because of an injury to Crawley goalkeeper Tom McGill, who was carried off on a stretcher and replaced by Stuart Nelson.
There was still time for Josh Umerah to restore the hosts’ advantage, only for Jordan Tunnicliffe to level again – 21 minutes into added time – to take the contest to extra-time.
Captain Asa Hall successfully converted two penalties to seemingly restore control of the tie to the Devon side.
But Nichols replied immediately, then completed his hat-trick with seven minutes remaining.
And Ashley Nadesan completed the comeback with two minutes remaining when he ran on to a Nichols pass and beat goalkeeper Lucas Covolan with a low shot.