LONDON: Fulham suffered an embarrassing League Cup exit as the Premier League side were beaten 2-0 by Crawley in a second-round clash on Tuesday.
Marco Silva’s side are 83 places above League Two Crawley and beat Brentford 3-2 in the Premier League on Saturday.
But the Fulham manager’s decision to make 10 changes backfired badly at Broadfield Stadium as struggling Crawley upended the specification.
Ex-Fulham striker Kevin Betsy, who picked up just one point from his first five games as Crawley manager, orchestrated a memorable victory thanks to goals from Tom Nichols and Liverpool loanee James Balagizi .
The Cottagers have joined Norwich and Leeds on the list of top-flight clubs that have suffered cup embarrassment at Crawley in recent years.
Silva debuted Issa Diop, Marlon Fossey and 17-year-old academy graduate Luke Harris, while Shane Duffy and Kevin Mbabu made their debuts.
But Fulham fell behind with 16 minutes on the clock when Nichols took Ashley Nadesan’s pass and drilled a left-footed low drive into Marek Rodak in the far corner.
Just four minutes into the second half, Fulham midfielder Tyrese Francois conceded the ball deep in his own half and Balagizi seized Nichols’ reverse pass to drive home.
Despite warnings over the public address system and football authorities threatening to punish this campaign more harshly, many of the 5,000 people took to the pitch in full-time celebration.
Premier League clubs involved in this season’s European competitions have third-round byes, leaving Aston Villa, Everton and Leicester to star in other second-round fixtures.
Villa came from behind to spare Steven Gerrard’s blushes in a 4-1 win at Bolton.
After a frustrating start to the season and just three wins in 14 games dating back to March, questions have been asked about where Villa are heading under Gerrard.
The Premier League side were stunned when Dion Charles gave Bolton a third-tier lead in the 24th minute, but Douglas Luiz equalized directly from a corner.
Danny Ings put Villa ahead with a 62nd-minute penalty and further goals from Lucas Digne and Leon Bailey took Villa through to the third round.
Everton also got off to a slow start in the Premier League and only reached the third round with a 1-0 win over League One side Fleetwood.
A first-half goal from Demarai Gray, playing after Tom Davies was injured in the warm-up, saw Frank Lampard’s side progress.
Leicester needed a 3-1 victory on penalties to avoid a shock defeat at fourth tier Stockport, which held Brendan Rodgers’ troubled side to a 0-0 draw.
Winless in three Premier League games and with Wesley Fofana and James Maddison linked with moves, Leicester needed rookie keeper Daniel Iversen to make three saves in the shootout before advancing.
Bournemouth edged Norwich as Todd Cantwell missed the decisive penalty in the Cherries’ 5-3 shootout victory after a 2-2 draw at Carrow Road.
Adam Idah believed he had scored a comeback after a six-month injury layoff with a late winner, only for Brooklyn Genesini to bring Bournemouth level in stoppage time.
Wolves striker Raul Jimenez celebrated his opener wearing an eyepatch and pirate hook as his side beat Preston 2-1 at Molineux.
Southampton won 3-0 at Cambridge and Nottingham Forest beat Grimsby by the same scoreline.
Crystal Palace won 2-0 at Oxford and Brentford picked up a 2-0 win at Colchester.