An 87th minute goal by Bristol City’s Luke Ayling ruined Crawley’s hopes of grabbing an away draw at the league leaders.
Reds put in a battling and hard working defensive display and nearly held out against constant attacks by top of the table Bristol.
Reds keeper Lewis Price served up a heroic display to keep up a series of shots with a brilliant display between the sticks.
Reds made three changes to the side which drew 1-1 against Chesterfield with Shaun Miller coming in up front in place of the suspended Izale McLeod making his league debut.
Lewis Young and Sonny Bradley replaced Gwion Edwards and Ryan Dickson who are recovering from hernia operations.
Crawley played in a 3-5-2 formation with Gavin Tomlin partnering Price up front annd Lewis Young and Bobson Bawling playing as wingers.
Bristol made one change with striker Kieran Agard taking the place of Aaron Wilbraham.
Crawley were under pressure from the start and owed some great work by recent signing Lewis Price in goal, making his third appearance since joinging on loan from Crystal Palace.
He made a succession of vital saves in the first half hour to keep Crawley in the game.
Reds weathered the opening storm which saw a double save to deny Agard from a yard, then kept out a header from a corner.
Lanre Oyebanjo cleared off the line from Luke Ayling before a cross by Ayling was headed wide by Bristol’s Matt Smith.
Price made a superb tip-over the bar to keep out Ayling who hit powrfully from 20 yards.
Bristol had a seroies of six corners in the first half hour so the Reds needed to slow the game down and try to keep possession to create some of their own chances.
Miller went on a good run down the right and cracked a great shot wide from just outside the area.
Bobson Bawling finished a great Crawley move involving gavin Tomlin and Lewis Young with a rasping shot over the bar.
Price was in action again when he did well to get down low to stop a chance on target by Agard.
It was all Bristol in the last few minutes before half-time as Matt Smith drove wide from long-range, who then also went close to netting a cross with a diving header.
In the second half Keith Keane sliced an effrot wide for Crawley but Bristol were doing most of the pressing as Wade Elliott had a shot blocked by Dean Leacock.
Price was under fire again to prevent Matt Smith from scoring when he headed down Luke Freeman’s cross.
John Gregory brought on Matt Harrold to replace Tomlin in hope of a late goal against the run of play then Marvin Elliott came on for Miller.
Sonny Bradley headed narrowly over from a sweetly-struck free-kick by Jimmy Smith.
But hopes of holding out for an unlikely draw were dashed when Luke Aylihng volleyed in a goal from an uncleared corner with just three minutes to go.
REDS: Price, Oyebanjo, Leacock, Bradley, Smith, Walsh (capt), Young, Keane, Miller (Elliott 77), Bawling, Tomlin (Harrold 65).
Unused subs: Jensen, Henderson, Banya, Richefond, Isaacs,
BRISTOL CITY: Fielding, Little (Wagstaff 73), Williams, Flint, K.Smith, W.Elliott (capt) (Pack 69), M.Smith (Wilbraham 69), Freeman, Agard, Ayling, Bryan.
Unused subs: Richards, Osborne, Emmanuel-Thomas, Wagstaff.
REFEREE: Michael Bull
ATTENDANCE: 11,660 (93 away)