Eastbourne Borough bowed out of the Sussex Senior Cup after a cracking contest with League two outfit Crawley Town.
Home striker Lloyd Dawes, who impressed throughout, opened the scoring at Priory Lane on 18 minutes as his shot bounced into the ground and over the stranded Crawley keeper Yusuf Mersin.
Dawes so nearly made it 2-0 just five minutes later as his shot from an acute angle smashed against the post.
Borough were on top in the opening exchanges and the lively Dawes had another effort deflected just wide while defender James Haran saw a powerful header fly narrowly over the bar from Kane Wills’ corner.
Crawley fashioned their best chance to level on 30 minutes and it required a fantastic double save from home stopper Mark Smith to deny Josh Payne and Panutche Camara in quick succession.
Crawley weren’t to be denied and just before the break they made it 1-1. Once against Smith saved well to block the initial effort but Thomas Verheydt was on hand to tap home the equaliser. Verheydt was close to making it 2-1 for the visitors when his shot from distance hit the outside of the post but Crawley were ahead on 58 minutes. Moussa Sanoh played a cross into the box and Haran was unlucky to deflect the ball into his own net - harsh on Borough.
Jamie Howell’s team contuinued to press forward and Dawes claimed his and Borough’s second of the match with a shot that rolled beyond Mersin and into the net.
And just two minutes later Borough got their noses in front once more. The Sports attacked at pace and Gavin McCallum remained calm in the box to slot his effort past the Crawley keeper.
Borough were defending in determined fashion but Crawley kept pushing forward and the equaliser came deep in injury-time. Dean Cox, on as a second half substitute, nipped in and fired home an effort at the near post to force extra-time.
The match was decided in extra-time and ultimately it came down to two penalty shouts - one given and one waved away.
Verheydt made it 4-3 from the penalty spot in the first half of extra-time but on 120 minutes Borough had a huge appeal for a spot kick waved away after it appeared Will Hendon was completely wiped out in the penalty area.
A valiant performance from Borough who have struggled of late in the league but it’s Crawley who march through to the next round of the Sussex Senior Cup.
Borough: Smith, Udoji (Johnson, 93), Hendon, Wills, Khinda-John (Simpemba, 74), Haran, Ransom, Torres, Okojie, Dawes (Odubade, 90), McCallum Subs not used: Pickering, Pearson.
Crawley: Mersin, Tajbakhsh, McNerney, Doherty, Garnett (Boldewijn 84, Lelan 107), Payne (Cox, 70), Clifford, Djalo, Camara, Verheydt, Sanoh Subs not used: Morris, Evina
Referee: John Pike