Reds came from 3-0 down to score twice in the second half of an entertaining pre-season test against Swansea City.
When Oli McBurnie added to first-half goals from Nathan Dyer and George Byers early in the second half home fans feared the worst, even though this was the first pre-season friendly.
But Joe McNerney headed home a free kick and Filipe Morais scored a neatly-taken second in the 76th minute to offer Gabriele Cioffi plenty of positives as the countdown to Carlisle and the first League game on August 3 began in earnest.
The Head coach had named 26 players including four trialists and all got some important minutes under their belt. Ashley Nadesan and Jimmy Smith sat out the game with minor niggles while Jordan Tunnicliffe is still working towards full fitness.
Swansea finished 10th in the Championship last season and are expected to challenge for a place in the Premier League this campaign. They began confidently with Dyer dragging an early chance wide before he put the visitors in front on 15 minutes. Dyer controlled Mike van der Hoorn’s long pass adroitly in the box before easily beating Glenn Morris.
Ollie McBurnie also found the side netting before Swansea doubled their lead in the 25th minute. Matt Grimes swung in a left-wing free kick and Byers rose in a crowded six-yard box to head past Morris.
It was nearly three a minute later when Reds coughed up possession cheaply but McBurnie’s 25-yarder struck the post.
Swansea dominated the first third of the game but there were some optimistic moments for the home fans. Ollie Palmer couldn’t keep a right-foot effort from inside the box on target before Swans’ keeper Kris Nordfeldt made relatively easy saves from George Francomb’s free kick and Panutche Camara’s effort on the stroke of half time.
At the break on came Michael Luyambula, Josh Payne, David Sesay, Morais, Nathan Ferguson, Reece Grego-Cox and Mason Bloomfield and goalkeeper Luyambala’s first action was to pick the ball out of the net when Swansea stretched their lead in the 47th minute when McBurnie headed in a corner.
But Reds got one back five minutes later. Payne sent in a superb free kick from the right and McNerney lost his marker at the far post to head powerfully past goalkeeper Steven Benda, one of six Swansea subs at the break.
The goal gave Crawley renewed impetus. Bloomfield and Ferguson looked lively then Tarryn Allarakhia shrugged off a defender inside the six-yard box only to hit the side netting from a tight angle after good work by Grego-Cox.
Reds then made it 2-3 with 14 minutes to go when Morais intercepted an attempted back pass by Declan John and beat Benda from inside the six-yard box. Allarakhia had another opportunity in stoppage time when he headed Grego-Cox’s cross wide.
It had been an encouraging last hour for Crawley against strong opposition although there will be an even bigger step up in class on Friday when Premier League Brighton head up the A23.
Crawley 1st half: Morris, Young, Doherty, McNerney, Dallison, Nathaniel-George, Bulman, Camara, Francomb, Camara, Palmer.
2nd half: Luyambula, Young (Trialist 75 (Trialist 90)), Sesay, McNerney (Trialist 80), Dallison (Powell 85), Grego-Cox, Payne, Ferguson, Morais, Nathaniel-George (Allarakhia 60 (Triallist 90)), Bloomfield (Galach 88).