Emile Sinclair came off the bench to grab a winning goal six minutes before the end to book Crawley Town’s place in the FA Cup Second Round.
The Reds showed character to grab the late winner against a hard working Hednesford side who are top of the Conference North.
The Reds took the lead in the 61st minute through an own goal and this was cancelled out with 15 minutes to go by Hednesford’s topscorer Eliott Durrell from the penalty spot.
It looked like the game would need a replay to decide it before Richard Barker’s substitution resulted in Sinclair scoring Crawley’s second goal off his knee from Nicky Adams’ corner.
Earlier in the second half the Reds took the lead in the 61st minute from an own goal.
The first half ended goalless despite plenty of attacking play by Hednesford in the opening half hour which included four successive corners.
Crawley eased their way into the game slowly and finished the half looking threatening as Josh Simpson hit the post, then headed off balance over the bar before Mike Jones blasted over from long-range.
The Reds took the lead 15 minutes into the second half when Adams went on a run and forced an own goal when Darren Campion sliced his shot into his own net.
Hednesford equalised on 75 minutes when Mat Sadler brought down the impressive Jamey Osborne in the area and Durrell made it 1-1 confidently into the top right hand corner from the penalty spot for his 20th goal of the season.
Both sides contined to press for the winner before substitute Sinclair eventually made it 2-1.
Barker brought on defender Kyle McFadzean to shoare up the back for the last four minutes of injury time as Crawley replaced their recent four-game losing run with FA Cup joy.
Crawley made three changes to the side which lost 2-0 at Bristol City on Tuesday.
Loan signing Kyle Bennett was not allowed to play by his club Doncaster, while Swindon allowed Luke Rooney to play but was on the bench.
Mark Connolly, Andy Drury and Dannie Bulman all started while Kyle McFadzean and Emile Sinclair dropped to the bench.
Billy Clarke missed his seventh game in a row with a knee injury.
For Hednesford, new signings Tom Thorley and Paul McCone were both unavailable through being cup-tied while midfielder Dave Macpherson served the second game of a three-match suspension.
REDS: Paul Jones, James Hurst, Mat Sadler, Mark Connolly, Joe Walsh, Dannie Bulman, Mike Jones (Emile Sinclair 80), Andy Drury (Kyle McFadzean 90), Josh Simpson, Nicky Adams, Jamie Proctor (Gary Alexander 80)
Unused subs: Connor Essam, Sergio Torres, Luke Rooney, Jonathan Maddison
PITMEN: Dan Crane, John Disney, Darren Campion (Aaron Rey 78), Ben Bailey, Francino Francis, Kris Taylor, Jamey Osborne, Elliott Durrell, Neil Harvey, Michael Lennon (Wayne Riley 75), Robbie Thompson-Brown (Alex Melbourne 59)