Head Coach Harry Kewell believes his side lost the game against Crewe in the first half, despite two second half dismissals which saw the Reds finish the match with nine men.
Crawley started the game brightly, but were victim to two quick-fire goals from Callum Ainley and Chris Dagnall, with the opener coming just five minutes before the interval.
The Reds had been causing their hosts issues but the gaffer insisted the game was sealed before the break.
"We lost the game in the first half, it's as simple as that." Kewell said.
'If you don't score you always leave yourself vulnerable, the guy scored a wonderful goal in the first half but it should have been dealt with.
"We had a good couple of chances to get back in the game, but we've got to look at this and react in a positive way."
In what was a feisty encounter, much of the focus centred around red cards for Jimmy Smith and Jordan Roberts, the skipper departing with no one in the ground knowing what offence he committed.
The skipper went in for a seemingly fair challenge with a Crewe player, before the referee paused the game and brandished a red card despite no appeal from the home players.
Kewell kept his own counsel when asked about Smith's red and felt the visitors didn't help themselves in other departments.
"You have moments like this in football but it's important how you react," he added.
"We could sit here and argue decisions, but we put ourselves in this position.
"When the crowd becomes agitated by decisions, it puts the players under pressure every time they challenge so it's important not to leave yourselves open to that sort of pressure."
Even though the Reds were down to 10 men following Smith's dismissal, Kewell's next change saw him introduce Moussa Sanoh for Cedric Evina, and the Dutchman subsequently struck the crossbar.
"We always feel confident with the ball, we like to play and although the pitch wasn't 100% but still decent enough.
"At that point late on we could either sit back and accept defeat or try and do something about it and we went with that second option, and we could have nicked a goal on a couple of occasions."