Two goals in 90 seconds sink Reds
Reds slumped to their heaviest home defeat of the season against an impressive Crewe side.
The visitors took the lead through James Jones’ 34th minute penalty before two goals in 90 seconds by Jordan Bowery and Chris Dagnall at the start of the second half completely knocked the stuffing out of the home side.
For the tenth League meeting between the clubs, Dermot Drummy named an unchanged starting XI and subs as Reds looked to complete the double over Alex, having won 2-0 at Gresty Road in December.
Despite losing to bottom of the table Newport on Saturday, the visitors began like a side who had beaten Portsmouth in their last away game as they attacked with pace and confidence.
Glenn Morris made two decent saves in the first eight minutes to deny Jones and Dagnall and when Dagnall combined with George Cooper to set up Bowery Reds were relieved that the striker fired wide from eight yards with only Morris to beat.
Morris pushed a swerving 25-yarder from Cooper over the bar while Crawley struggled to put together a sustained spell of pressure, although Rhys Murphy was only a yard wide of the top left-hand corner when he let fly from the edge of the box.
Both sides lost a central defender midway through the half to injury with Mark Connolly replaced by Josh Yorwerth and Perry Ng coming on for Crewe captain George Ray.
Reds had another let-off in the 33rd minute when Bowery had space 15 yards out but his low drive took a deflection off Joe McNerney for a corner.
Jimmy Smith was booked for a foul on Jones and seconds later Reds fell behind to a controversial penalty. There seemed to be minimal contact when Ben Nugent fell under the challenge of Josh Lelan, but referee Darren Deadman pointed to the spot straight away and Jones fired his penalty down the middle to give the visitors a deserved lead.
Murphy had looked Reds best hope of a goal and in stoppage time he forced Ben Garratt into his first save when his angled effort was pushed over at the near post.
Murphy tested Garrett again early in the second half with a swerving effort from the edge of the box but Crewe broke upfield and doubled their lead almost immediately on 51 minutes. Cooper slid a lovely pass from the left into the path of Bowery and he planted his shot past a helpless Morris inside the left-hand post.
It got worse for Reds a minute later. Dagnall found yards of space down the middle and produced a composed finish past Morris to make it 3-0. Game over.
Billy Clifford and Josh Payne came on for Dean Cox and Jimmy Smith and while Reds showed plenty of endeavour they created little of note. In fact, Cooper should have made it four for Crewe when Bowery intercepted a poor pass by Lelan to send him through but Morris saved at his feet as he tried to go around the keeper.
James Collins headed just wide when Yorwerth nodded a corner back across goal and the hosts enjoyed a good spell in the closing stages, winning several corners before Murphy was denied a stoppage-time consolation when his chip from the edge of the box beat Garratt but came back off the crossbar.
Reds: Morris; Lelan, Connolly (sub: Yorwerth 23), McNerney, Young; Boldewijn, Smith (Payne 67), Henderson, Cox (Clifford 54), Murphy, Collins. Unused subs: Mersin, Blackman, Bawling, Djalo.
Booked: Smith, Yorwerth
Attendance: 1566 (110 Crewe)
Man of the match: Josh Yorwerth