Crawley Town 1-2 Gillingham

Gillingham striker Jo Kuffour
Kuffour's brace takes him to seven goals for the season

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.

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

Whelpdale, , 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:

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The best team lost - Steve Evans

"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:

Don't get carried away - Hessenthaler

"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."

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