Crawley tasted defeat on the road for the second time in a week as they were beaten 1-0 by Grimsby Town at Blundell Park.
Substitute Ahkeem Rose’s strike five minutes from the end of normal time was enough for the hosts, who dominated most of the second half in Lincolnshire.
The Reds had the better play in the first half and could have been ahead from Lewis Young or Ollie Palmer, had either of their efforts been a couple of inches lower.
Gabriele Cioffi made two changes from the side that drew 1-1 at Southend in the FA Cup last weekend, with Filipe Morais and Luke Gambin both unavailable allowing Ashley Nathaniel-George and Dannie Bulman places in the starting line up.
The Reds started brightly in a chilly Lincolnshire and could have been ahead in the first couple of minutes had either Josh Payne volley inside twenty seconds been a few inches to the right, or Palmer’s dink been lower.
Grimsby came into the game after that and Harry Cardwell was denied by Glenn Morris after bullet header. Cardwell was to be denied again soon after as Joe McNerney cleared his volley of the line, minutes after a chance of his own went wide.
Town were attacking much better than in previous away games and Young was playing an influential part on the right hand side. One of his crosses found Palmer in the six yard box, but the header had too much on it, and another went all the way towards goal as is whistled just centimetres wide.
The Mariner’s goal was leading a charmed life, and it was Young again who was next to test it, as he cut in from the wing and curled the ball just over the bar from around 25 yards.
Grimsby came out a changed team in the second half and dominated much of the proceedings, but not after a decent effort from Ashley Nathaniel-George, who fired from the edge of the area toward Palmer. A home boot was required to deny Palmer a touch of the ball.
The hosts attacked with intent and could have led a number of times had crosses into the box been better.
It wasn’t all one way traffic, as Palmer and Panutche Camara combined to bear down on the home goalkeeper James McKeown and force him into an error. Camara found Francomb on the left with a chip, but the offside flag denied him the chance to open the scoring.
Grimsby took advantage of our missed chances and took the lead with just five minutes to go when Rose was left all alone in the area from a free kick and smashed home the winner for the hosts.
Attentions for the Reds now turn to Tuesday night’s crucial FA Cup Replay against Southend United.
GRIMSBY: McKeown (GK), Collins ©, Hessenthaler, Clifton, Cardwell, Vernam, Fox, Davis, Hendrie, Pringle, Thomas.
Subs: Welsh, M Rose, Cook, Woolford, A Rose, Russell, Whitmore.
CRAWLEY: Morris (GK), Young, Francomb, Maguire, Connolly, Payne, McNerney, Camara, Nathaniel-George, Bulman ©, Palmer.
Subs: Mersin (GK), Poleon, N’Gala, Doherty, Allarahkia, Grego-Cox.
ATT: 4,459 (68 AWAY)