It’s now seven wins in eight for Reds, who moved up to 11th in the League Two table after an ultimately convincing win over struggling Grimsby on a wet and windy afternoon at the Checkatrade Stadium.
The visitors – now without a win in 12 – gave as good as they got but in front of goal Reds had a clinical edge and eventually eased to their best home win of the season.
Enzio Boldewijn won a 45th-minute penalty which was converted by Jimmy Smith before Reds sealed their fourth successive win with two superbly taken goals in three second-half minutes from Karlan Ahearne-Grant and Boldewijn.
Harry Kewell had made one change to the side that had won at Chesterfield, with Josh Lelan coming in for Mark Randall who dropped to the bench.
A tacky pitch, driving rain and strong wind were hardly ideal elements for a flowing match but there was no lack of action early on with little to choose between the teams.
Mallik Wilks was booked for a bad tackle on Lewis Young moments after Young had found Boldewijn with a cross which the Dutchman headed well over, but the Mariners tested the home defence too.
Mark Connolly made a brave block when Zac Mills let fly on the right-hand side of the box but midway through the half Crawley should have gone in front.
Young’s free kick caused all sorts of problems in the Grimsby defence but both Smith and Thomas Verheydt were denied by desperate clearances on the line.
In truth it was a rare moment of alarm in the first period for Grimsby, as Reds struggled to get their passing game going. Charles Vernam had a shot blocked and Wilks was denied at the far post by Morris’s excellent save.
Towards the end of the half Boldewijn began to get the measure of the visitors’ defence. One great run and cross was claimed by Killip before Verheydt found him for a shot on the run which was straight at the keeper.
Then on the stroke of half-time Boldewijn ran at the Grimsby defence again and was fouled inside the box by Luke Summerfield. It was an unnecessary challenge as Boldewijn seemed to have lost control of the ball, but referee Johnson pointed to the spot and Smith tucked it inside the left-hand post to give Reds a precious lead.
Reds came close seven minutes into the second half. Verheydt headed a Grimsby corner clear to Ahearne-Grant who turned Paul Dixon before finding Boldewijn, whose angled shot was deflected wide.
Morris made two solid saves at the other end, pushing away Luke Summerfield’s 20-yard free kick and then getting down low to his right to deny the lively Vernam before Reds scored twice in six minutes to take control.
Young had just been replaced by Mark Randall with Ahearne-Grant moving out to the left where he was picked out by Dannie Bulman’s pass. The Charlton loanee still had a lot to do but he did it superbly, cutting inside before beating Killip with a powerful right-foot shot inside the far post to make it 2-0.
Three minutes later it was 3-0. Randall found Boldewijn with a lovely weighted pass and as Killip came out, he clipped it neatly over the keeper and into the empty net.
Josh Payne replaced Smith in the 72nd minute and as the Mariners looked for a way back Martyn Woolford volleyed just wide and Josh Yorwerth produced a great clearance when Simeon Jackson looked to pounce after JJ Hooper’s volley was pushed out to him.
In a final change Moussa Sanoh came on for Ahearne-Grant with ten minutes to go and Josh Doherty wasn’t far away from adding a fourth late on when he shot just wide after a great run down the left.
Reds: Morris; Lelan, Connolly, Yorwerth, Doherty; Young (Randall 61), Smith (Payne 72), Bulman, Ahearne-Grant (Sanoh 80), Boldewijn, Verheydt. Unused subs: Mersin, Tajbakhsh, McNerney, Evina.
Attendance: 2055 (242 Grimsby)
Man of the match (chosen by Elliott Scott Group): Glenn Morris
Pictured: Karlan Ahearne-Grant celebrates a goal on his home debut