Gabrielle Cioffi's first Checkatrade Trophy match in charge ended in defeat at home to Portsmouth as Dion Donohue's first strike saw them take all three points in Southern Group A.
The Reds put in a decent performance against the League One leaders, but were undone by Donohue's strike before the half time break.
Going into the game both Crawley and Portsmouth sat in the qualification spots, after Pompey convincingly defeated Gillingham by four goals to nil at Fratton Park on the same evening that the Reds pulled off an entertaining penalty shootout win over Tottenham Hotspur’s under-23 side.
After impressing in the win over Spurs, Tarryn Allarakhia looked incredibly lively early on having a low driven shot well saved by Luke McGee in the opening two minutes. He later turned sharply leaving his man behind before over-hitting his pass towards Panutche Camara.
Possession was very much balanced in the opening twenty minutes, with the most significant chance this time being handed to Crawley when Camara’s thundering strike following a set-piece was blocked well by a Portsmouth body.
Louis Dennis had Portsmouth’s greatest chance of the opening thirty minutes, cutting inside before unleashing a curled effort that sailed inches past the post. Crawley’s Camara later made an ambitious run into the box winning a corner for the Reds. One minute later Portsmouth opened the scoring when they sharply counter attacked from the Crawley corner as Dion Donohue flew forward before smartly cutting inside and executing a curved strike past Yusuf Mersin from the edge of the area.
In the opening moments of the second-half, David Sesay wiggled his way into the Portsmouth box after some tricky footwork before squaring the ball to Brian Galach who shot wide.
After the hour mark substitute Mark Randall helped to construct a clever move which resulted in Josh Doherty’s teasing cross missing the outstretched boot of Poleon.
The opening chapters of the second-half were controlled by Crawley but the possession play was failing to find them a goal, as it was Portsmouth who indeed had the most dangerous chances. Ben Close came close with a well-timed volley on the edge of the area but it was held safely by Mersin.
With five minutes left to play Allarakhia’s long-range effort got the Crawley fans on the edge of their seats but it sailed only inches over the bar.
Portsmouth were awarded a late penalty when Louis Dennis was brought down in the area yet Joe Mason was unable to double Portsmouth’s lead as he fired his penalty high and out of the stadium.
Crawley XI: Mersin; Francomb, McNerney, Sesay, Doherty; Allarakhia, Vincelot, Bulman, Galach (Maguire 58’); Camara (Randall 60’), Poleon.
Attendance: 1268 (484 away)