League Two leaders Crawley Town's 15-match unbeaten run was ended with a defeat at home to in-form Gillingham.

The hosts overcame Claude Davis's sending off to take a first-half lead through Matt Tubbs' penalty.

But Jo Kuffour equalised when he guided Chris Whelpdale's centre past Scott Shearer in the Crawley goal early in the second half.

Kuffour then fired the winner following a solo run into the box before a late red card for Gills sub Luke Rooney.

Crawley started the day holding a four-point lead at the top of League Two, but Gillingham were also in good form, having not lost in eight games.

And the Gills had a man advantage from the 18th minute when Crawley centre-half Davis brought down Kuffour as he looked to streak away following a poor pass from Kyle McFadzean.

Yet it was the hosts who made the breakthrough 11 minutes before the break when Tubbs scored from the spot after McFadzean was felled in the box by Matt Lawrence.

CRAWLEY V GILLINGHAM

  • It was Crawley's first defeat since a 3-0 setback against Swindon on 13 September
  • Gillingham are now unbeaten in nine games in all competitions
  • Matt Tubbs has now hit 16 goals for the season, while Jo Kuffour has scored seven

Gills boss Andy Hessenthaler brought on Rooney to bolster his attacking options, and the move paid off early in the second half.

Whelpdale, who was later taken off after suffering a painful split scrotum in a tackle  , delivered a cross that was converted by Kuffour, nudging the ball past Shearer to level.

That was followed just moments later by a fine individual goal by Kuffour who, after gathering possession in his own half, waltzed through the Crawley defence before drilling home at the near post.

The quickfire brace stirred Steve Evans' side, although Gillingham made their extra man count in restricting the hosts to half chances.

Crawley could have nicked a point late on and it took a fine piece of Gills defending to deny Tubbs, when his back-post header was turned off the line with minutes remaining.

Five added minutes cranked up the pressure, enough to see Gills substitute Rooney sent off for a second bookable offence.

VIEWS FROM THE DRESSING ROOM

Crawley manager Steve Evans told BBC Sussex:

"The best team lost today. We had two minutes of madness for their goals. You cannot fault the commitment, spirit or effort in our camp.

"There will be parties in Gillingham. It's as if they've won the World Cup. We won't talk about the conduct of their bench - that's a separate issue.

"We're disappointed but we'll come back."

Gillingham manager Andy Hessenthaler told BBC Radio Kent:

"I said at half time that 45 minutes was a long time and we just had to start right in the second half.

"We came out very explosive, got the two goals then I'm disappointed we didn't go on from there.

"They made it difficult for us but we defended very well today.

"We've shown what we're about. We're capable and have a very good squad but let's not get carried away."

Lineup, Bookings (7) & Substitutions (5)

Crawley Town

  • 25 Shearer
  • 03 Howell
  • 04 Mills
  • 05 McFadzean
  • 28 Davis Dismissed
  • 08 Torres (Neilson - 82' )
  • 13 Hunt Booked
  • 15 Bulman
  • 21 Doughty (Simpson - 58' )
  • 09 Tubbs
  • 23 Barnett Booked

Substitutes

  • 01 Kuipers
  • 06 Akpan
  • 11 Simpson
  • 22 Neilson
  • 17 Akinde

Gillingham

  • 01 Flitney
  • 06 Richards
  • 12 Martin Booked
  • 15 Lawrence
  • 16 Fish (Rooney - 42' Dismissed after an earlier booking )
  • 18 Jackman
  • 07 Whelpdale (King - 90' )
  • 08 Payne
  • 10 Weston Booked (Oli - 69' )
  • 09 Kedwell
  • 33 Kuffour

Substitutes

  • 28 Gazzaniga
  • 05 King
  • 14 Rooney
  • 23 Payne
  • 11 Oli
Ref: Sheldrake
Att: 4,255

Match Stats

Shots

11 4

On target

8 2

Corners

3 3

Fouls

12 17

Live Text Commentary

90:00 +5:28 Full time

Full Time The referee blows for the end of the match.

90:00 +4:27

Scott Neilson has an effort at goal from the edge of the box that misses to the right of the target.

90:00 +1:23

Direct free kick taken by David Hunt.

90:00 +1:23 Dismissal

Dismissal Red card for Luke Rooney.

90:00 +1:07

Free kick awarded for a foul by Luke Rooney on David Hunt.

89:35

Direct free kick taken by Danny Jackman.

89:35 Substitution

Substitution Simon King is brought on as a substitute for Chris Whelpdale.

89:35

Pablo Mills challenges Dennis Oli unfairly and gives away a free kick.

88:03

Tyrone Barnett fouled by Danny Jackman, the ref awards a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Dean Howell.

87:30

Matthew Tubbs takes a shot. Clearance made by Matt Lawrence.

86:19

Danny Jackman takes the direct free kick.

86:19 Booking

Booking David Hunt is shown a yellow card for unsporting behaviour.

86:17

Free kick awarded for a foul by David Hunt on Chris Whelpdale.

84:28

Matthew Tubbs is flagged offside by the assistant referee. Free kick taken by Garry Richards.

82:51

Outswinging corner taken right-footed by Scott Neilson, Dennis Oli manages to make a clearance.

81:37

Direct free kick taken by Ross Flitney.

81:37 Substitution

Substitution Sergio Torres goes off and Scott Neilson comes on.

81:37

Foul by Tyrone Barnett on Joe Martin, free kick awarded.

79:25

Dean Howell fires a strike on goal direct from the free kick.

79:25 Booking

Booking The referee books Luke Rooney for unsporting behaviour.

79:11

Matthew Tubbs fouled by Luke Rooney, the ref awards a free kick.

76:54

Pablo Mills takes a shot. Save made by Ross Flitney.

75:40

Josh Simpson takes a shot. Danny Jackman gets a block in. Sergio Torres takes a outswinging corner.

74:17

Unfair challenge on Matthew Tubbs by Matt Lawrence results in a free kick. The free kick is delivered left-footed by Dean Howell from left channel.

73:24

Tyrone Barnett takes a shot. Save made by Ross Flitney.

70:11

Free kick awarded for a foul by Jack Payne on Sergio Torres. Direct effort from the free kick comes in from Dean Howell, blocked by Joe Martin.

68:37

Ross Flitney takes the direct free kick.

68:37 Substitution

Substitution Dennis Oli replaces Curtis Weston.

68:37

Tyrone Barnett concedes a free kick for a foul on Matt Lawrence.

65:52

Corner taken left-footed by Danny Jackman from the right by-line, Tyrone Barnett makes a clearance.

64:22

Danny Kedwell challenges Josh Simpson unfairly and gives away a free kick. Free kick taken by Scott Shearer.

63:26

Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Dannie Bulman by Jo Kuffour. Pablo Mills takes the direct free kick.

62:27

Free kick taken by Pablo Mills.

62:27 Booking

Booking Curtis Weston receives a yellow card for unsporting behaviour.

62:21

Foul by Curtis Weston on Sergio Torres, free kick awarded.

57:40

Direct free kick taken by Ross Flitney.

57:40 Substitution

Substitution Michael Doughty goes off and Josh Simpson comes on.

57:40

Free kick awarded for a foul by Tyrone Barnett on Matt Lawrence.

57:02

The official flags Jo Kuffour offside. Free kick taken by Scott Shearer.

54:49

Tyrone Barnett takes a shot. Garry Richards gets a block in.

53:25

Pablo Mills concedes a free kick for a foul on Jo Kuffour. Garry Richards takes the direct free kick.

51:17

Luke Rooney provided the assist for the goal.

51:17 Goal scored

Goal! - Jo Kuffour - Crawley 1 - 2 Gillingham Jo Kuffour finds the back of the net with a goal from inside the penalty box to the bottom right corner of the goal. Crawley Town 1-2 Gillingham.

49:05

Assist on the goal came from Chris Whelpdale.

49:05 Goal scored

Goal! - Jo Kuffour - Crawley 1 - 1 Gillingham Jo Kuffour finds the back of the net with a headed goal from deep inside the penalty box. Crawley Town 1-1 Gillingham.

48:22

Foul by Tyrone Barnett on Chris Whelpdale, free kick awarded. Free kick taken by Garry Richards.

45:18

Matthew Tubbs fouled by Matt Lawrence, the ref awards a free kick. Free kick taken by Pablo Mills.

45:01

The referee blows his whistle to start the second half.

45:00 +3:13 Half time

Half Time The match has reached half-time.

45:00 +1:22

Foul by Jo Kuffour on Dannie Bulman, free kick awarded. Direct free kick taken by Scott Shearer.

43:21

Garry Richards concedes a free kick for a foul on Matthew Tubbs. Matthew Tubbs has a direct shot on goal from the free kick, save by Ross Flitney. Corner taken left-footed by Michael Doughty from the left by-line, Kyle McFadzean takes a shot. Clearance by Luke Rooney.

41:33 Substitution

Substitution Matt Fish leaves the field to be replaced by Luke Rooney.

41:00

Shot from just outside the box by Sergio Torres misses to the left of the goal.

40:09

Corner taken left-footed by Danny Jackman from the right by-line to the near post, clearance made by Tyrone Barnett.

38:07

Matt Fish concedes a free kick for a foul on Dannie Bulman. Scott Shearer takes the direct free kick.

35:51

Pablo Mills challenges Chris Whelpdale unfairly and gives away a free kick. The ball is swung over by Danny Jackman, Jo Kuffour produces a header from deep inside the six-yard box that clears the bar.

33:35 Goal scored

Goal! - Matthew Tubbs - Crawley 1 - 0 Gillingham Matthew Tubbs scores a power penalty. Crawley Town 1-0 Gillingham.

32:27

Matt Lawrence concedes a Penalty for a foul on Kyle McFadzean.

31:49

Unfair challenge on Tyrone Barnett by Matt Fish results in a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Pablo Mills.

31:15

The official flags Matthew Tubbs offside. Free kick taken by Ross Flitney.

28:18

Danny Kedwell gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Michael Doughty. Michael Doughty delivers the ball from the free kick left-footed from right wing, Danny Kedwell makes a clearance.

22:36

Garry Richards takes the free kick.

22:36 Booking

Booking Tyrone Barnett is cautioned.

22:21

Unfair challenge on Jack Payne by Tyrone Barnett results in a free kick.

18:09

Strike on goal comes in from Danny Jackman from the free kick.

18:09 Dismissal

Dismissal The referee sends off Claude Davis for professional foul.

17:54

Free kick awarded for a foul by Claude Davis on Jo Kuffour.

16:39

The offside flag is raised against Tyrone Barnett. Ross Flitney restarts play with the free kick.

14:31

Foul by Sergio Torres on Chris Whelpdale, free kick awarded. Ross Flitney takes the free kick.

10:29

Outswinging corner taken left-footed by Danny Jackman, save made by Scott Shearer.

9:20

The free kick is swung in left-footed by Michael Doughty.

9:20 Booking

Booking Booking for Joe Martin for unsporting behaviour.

9:09

Joe Martin concedes a free kick for a foul on Matthew Tubbs.

5:58

Dannie Bulman is penalised for a handball. Ross Flitney takes the direct free kick.

4:50

Dannie Bulman fouled by Danny Jackman, the ref awards a free kick. Scott Shearer takes the direct free kick.

0:12

Foul by Matthew Tubbs on Garry Richards, free kick awarded. Direct free kick taken by Ross Flitney.

0:00

The ref blows the whistle to start the match.

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