Reds enjoyed a torrid afternoon in their first meeting with Rochdale as they sunk to their heaviest defeat in three seasons in League One.
Peter Vincenti (2), Matty Done and Calvin Andrew, who played for Crawley on trial at the start of last season, condemned Crawley to their fourth successive league defeat.
John Gregory made four changes to the side that beat Cambridge United 2-0 on Tuesday.
There were first League starts for Emmett O’Connor and Matt Harrold while Conor Henderson, Izale McLeod and Brian Jensen all returned to the starting line-up.
It was Dale who started brightly and they took a 10th minute lead thanks to a superb strike from DONE. The midfielder was unchallenged as he got possession just outside the box and his angled drive from 18 yards swerved in the air as it flew into the top left-hand corner.
Reds took a while to get themselves some momentum but they ought to have equalised on 17 minutes. Harrold’s header from Ryan Dickson’s excellent cross was tipped over by Conrad Logan and from Jimmy Smith’s corner Harrold headed into the six-yard box but Sonny Bradley was unable to keep his shot down.
Lewis Young had a couple of dips from long range that were off target and Dean Leacock headed wide with his back to goal from Smith’s free kick. At that stage a set-piece looked Crawley’s best way back into the match but on 35 minutes Izale McLeod wriggled free of his marker but shot weakly at Logan.
Dale were still a threat. Ian Henderson headed wide from a near-post corner and Bastien Hery was allowed space to tee up a shot from 25 yards that went wide.
Just before the break the boss made a tactical change as O’Connor was replaced by Mitchell Rose, with Henderson switching to the left-hand side of midfield.
The visitors continued to look far more threatening and after Henderson had seen a shot blocked by Jensen they doubled their lead on 54 minutes. Done had loads of space down the left to pick out VINCENTI and he curled a precise shot into the bottom corner.
Jensen made a superb fingertip save to keep out Done’s shot otherwise Andrew would have had a tap in but Reds found themselves 3-0 down after 66 minutes. Done was again the provider with a cross which picked VINCENTI and he guided his header into the bottom corner.
By then Reds had brought on Gavin Tomlin and Charles Banya and Tomlin came close to pulling one back with 19 minutes to go but his shot on the turn was straight at Logan.
ANDREW did get on the scoresheet with 15 minutes to go when he met a cross from the right with a header that Jensen pushed onto the inside of the post but couldn’t prevent from crossing the line.
There was a nice moment near the end when Crawley boy Shamir Fenelon came on as a sub for the visitors but this was an afternoon to forget for the home side.
Reds: Jensen; Oyebanjo, Dickson, Leacock, Bradley; O'Connor (Rose 39), Henderson, Smith, Young (Banya 68); Harrold (Tomlin 61), McLeod. Unused subs: Ashdown, Bawling, Richefond, Isaacs.