Crawley eventually made their class tell as they reached the quarter-finals of the Sussex Senior Cup but not before they had been given a scare by Horsham YMCA.
Adi Yussuf hit the bar with an early header for the visitors, who had Joe McNerney back in the heart of their defence after seven weeks out with a knee injury.
But if Crawley thought that was a sign of things to come they were mistaken as YM grew in confidence and twice had the chance to take the lead.
Dave Brown was played in down the inside left channel but his cross-shot went wide when he should have hit the target before Reds were twice reprieved in the same attack. Yusuf Mersin pushed away Sam Schaaf’s close range shot to Brown who looked certain to score, but his effort was hacked off the line by Davey.
The visitors went in front against the run of play on 37 minutes. Even then they got a slice of luck when Yussuf’s shot from Conor Henderson’s cross took a deflection off Guy Harding past goalkeeper Sam Smith.
Finally Crawley began to play with a bit of confidence and they had the cushion of a second goal just before the break when Henderson’s free kick from 25 yards beat Smith inside his left-hand post.
The half-time score was harsh on the hosts but Reds took control in the second half and Henderson and Watt both went close to extending the lead with powerful drives which were deflected just wide before they put the tie to bed with a third on 65 minutes.
Jason Banton, increasingly influential in the second half, picked out Watt’s run down in the inside left channel and his powerful shot was too hot for Smith, who allowed the ball to trickle into the net.
Watt and Banton went close to adding further goals but that would have been harsh on the hardworking home side, who didn’t deserve to be on the end of a more emphatic defeat given their contribution to an entertaining tussle.
McNerney’s successful return to action was a big plus for Reds and he got generous applause from the visiting fans when he was replaced by Josh Yorwerth near the end.
Reds: Mersin (Beeney 45), Bawling, Davey, Garnett, McNerney (Yorwerth 85), Henderson, Djalo, Tajbakhsh, Banton, Watt, Yussuf. Unused sub: Payne.