Stoke beat Crawley as referee takes centre stage

London: Last year`s FA Cup runners-up Stoke City had a man harshly sent off but then scored a controversial penalty as they reached the quarter-finals with a 2-0 win at fourth tier Crawley Town on Sunday.

Jonathan Walters converted a 42nd-minute penalty, after Ryan Shawcross had gone to ground having barely been touched by Kyle McFadzean, before Peter Crouch headed a second after halftime to end a personal goal drought.

Rory Delap was earlier sent off in the 16th minute for a studs-up challenge, the kind of tackle which has prompted much debate in England this season with referees deeming them dangerous but players saying they are just trying to win the ball.

Stoke boss Tony Pulis was hopping mad as he thought Delap took the ball while he was also angry that Crawley manager Steve Evans jumped on to the pitch to protest to referee Mike Jones.

Crawley, who lost 1-0 at Manchester United at this stage last season when they were a non-league side, almost took an early lead when the ball hit Crouch and crashed against the woodwork.

Third division Stevenage host competition favourites Tottenham Hotspur later with Liverpool playing second tier Brighton & Hove Albion in the final fifth-round tie, just after the quarter-final draw has been made.

Sunderland beat beleaguered Arsenal 2-0 in Saturday`s standout match.

Bureau Report

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