Final score: Crawley Town 1 Stevenage 2
James Collins scored for the sixth consecutive home league goal but it wasn’t enough as Stevenage came from behind to take all three points, scoring the winner deep in added time at the Checkatrade Stadium.
The Reds had a chance to make it five home league wins a row, but Collins’ first half penalty was cancelled out by Matt Godden’s 75th minute equaliser, before the Stevenage striker snatched his side a dramatic winner deep into eight minutes of stoppage time.
January arrival Josh Lelan made his debut for the Reds, replacing Lewis Young after last week’s 2-1 defeat to Notts County.
Billy Clifford also dropped out of the starting line-up with Jordan Roberts coming into his place. Clifford claimed a spot on the bench alongside deadline day signing Rhys Murphy.
The Reds almost made a nightmare start as Josh Payne misplaced a pass across his penalty area, with Joe McNerney required to block Steven Schumacher’s effort.
The first 20 minutes offered little in the way of quality with the only real chance falling to the visitors when Ben Kennedy drove into the box before having his attempt smothered by Glenn Morris.
Despite the lacklustre opening, Collins put Crawley in front on 27 minutes from the penalty spot.
Dean Cox cut in from the left-hand side of the box before sliding a low cross to the near post, which Collins got in front of the outstretched Luke Wilkinson whose mis-placed tackle sent the striker spinning to the ground. Despite Stevenage protests, referee Swabey pointed to the spot and Collins stepped up confidently to convert from 12 yards and increase his tally for the season to 16.
The home side had another scare ten minutes later after once again gifting the visitors the ball in a dangerous area, this time McNerney the culprit, but Kennedy’s shot was tame.
Drummy’s men almost doubled their advantage shortly before the break when Enzio Boldewijn latched onto Payne’s through ball, but his deft loft from a tight angle clipped the underside of the bar before skidding away from danger.
Crawley came out the fastest in the second half with Boldewijn involved again, whipping a dangerous low cross into the box that Collins couldn’t quite connect with and Roberts could only fire over.
Five minutes later saw a bizarre five-minute stoppage, with referee Lee Swabey having to be replaced by linesman Steve Finch after suffering a muscle injury.
Boldewijn was involved again shortly afterwards, bringing down Cox’s floated cross on the turn but his left foot volley sliced over the bar.
Stevenage continued to battle for an equaliser and came close when Tom Pett finished off a driving run with a good strike from 18 yard to Morris’ right, but the keeper saved well and Godden’s follow-up effort flashed across goal and out of play.
And it was Stevenage who got the goal they were looking for 15 minutes from time, as Godden bundled home a cross at the back post.
Seconds after the goal Dermot Drummy then made his first change, replacing Boldewijn with Murphy.
As the game entered eight minutes of added time Bobson Bawling was introduced at the expense of Roberts.
But there was time for one final twist and heartbreak for Reds when Godden doubled his tally deep into added time, firing home across Morris from 10 yards.
The result means Crawley remain in 16th as they head into Tuesday’s trip to Blackpool.