By Warren Lucy
Jimmy Spencer’s header proved the difference as Reds’ three-match winning run ended against struggling Notts County.
Spencer’s finish just after the half hour mark sealed a valuable three points for the Magpies as Crawley remain in midtable.
John Gregory made three changes to the team that began Reds’ excellent win against Leyton Orient just three days earlier with Jamie Proctor, Sergio Torres and Gary Dicker coming in for Josh Simpson, Andy Drury and Dannie Bulman, who took his place on the bench.
Inside six minutes, Gwion Edwards’ free-kick found the head of Jamie Proctor but his header was caught by Notts County custodian Bartosz Bialkowski.
Up the other end, Jimmy Spencer - a man who joined Reds on loan but didn’t play last season - headed Jamal Campbell-Ryce’s cross past the post after 18 minutes.
On the 20-minute mark, Edwards’ low attempt was comfortably saved by County’s Polish goalkeeper as the game opened up more.
Gary Liddle’s header on the half hour was straight at Paul Jones as County upped the ante.
Moments later and the deadlock was broken at Meadow Lane as an Alan Sheehan free-kick was headed past Jones by the towering Spencer to relieve the home supporters’ obvious tension.
That was how it stayed as the two sides went in at the break.
Crawley came flying out of the traps early in the second half and after Matt Tubbs found Mike Jones, the winger’s drive across the six-yard box was put out for a corner.
Five minutes into the half and a goalmouth scramble following a fumble from Bialkowski saw shots from Tubbs, Proctor - whose effort was cleared off the line - and Jones hacked clear.
Minutes later and a Mark Connolly effort was sensationally blocked before Tubbs’ close range effort was blocked by Bialkowski.
On 64 minutes, Proctor’s headed flick-on from a Jones cross from the left drifted agonisingly wide of Bialkowski’s left-hand post.
A minute later and another Jones cross found the head of Dicker but his effort was sensationally tipped over by Bialkowski.
Crawley made. Double change with 15 minutes remaining as Dicker and Torres were replaced by Jeffrey Monakana and Bulman.
Moments after entering the action, Bulman’s dipping volley was well held by Bialkowski.
Reds rallied late on and Proctor’s soft header was easy for Bialkowski as the minutes ticked by.
That was to be the last real action of the game as Notts held out for a crucial win.
Reds: P. Jones; M. Connolly, McFadzean (c), Walsh, Sadler; M. Jones, Torres (Monakana, 75), Dicker (Bulman, 75), Edwards; Tubbs, Proctor
Subs: Maddison, Essam, Fallon, Bulman, Monakana