It was a tentative start from both sides as neither looked to push too high up the pitch in the opening ten minutes. The first chance fell to the Reds as Francomb delivered a great ball into the box, Carl Piergianni cleared just ahead of Tom Nichols.
Francomb was then involved at the other end of the pitch as he was adjudged to have fouled Dylan Fage on the edge of the area. Callum Whelan stood over the set-piece and looked to fire a whipping ball towards the far post, Glenn Morris was able to claim.
The game then really started to come alive as Glenn Morris was forced to make a very smart double save to keep the score level. A short corner routine allowed Whelan to fire at goal, which forced Morris to parry to his right side before the rebound was fired in by Davis Keillor-Dunn, Morris almost sitting on the ball to save.
Sam Matthews almost marked his return to the starting eleven with a goal after good work from Jack Powell inside the Oldham half. Powell was able to find Matthews on the edge of the box as the winger turned his man and fired just over the bar.
Oldham came straight back down the other and perhaps should have found themselves ahead after Conor McAleny miscued in front of goal. Harry Clarke won a header deep inside Crawley territory, which gave McAleny space to skip past McNerney and fire a weak shot at Morris.
The visitors did look dangerous on the counter-attack and were able to catch Crawley short at the back as McAleny smashed home the opener. A great first touch set him free past McNerney giving the forward time to smash the ball past Morris to give his side the lead.
Things went from bad to worse for Crawley as Cameron Borthwick-Jackson doubled the visitors lead just a minute later. The former Manchester United full-back looked to be offside after a lofted ball cleared the Reds defence, the defender took one touch before blasting past Morris to double Oldham’s lead.
Crawley replaced McNerney with James Tilley at half time to bolster the Reds attack. Unfortunately, the visitors added a third just minutes into the second half. McAleny shrugged off Tunnicliffe inside the Reds area and tucked the ball under Morris to put his side 3-0 up.
Oldham continued to look dangerous and almost added a fourth through Dylan Bahamboula. The winger stood over a free-kick wide on the right flank and unleashed a powerful effort at goal, Morris saving well through a crowd of bodies.
Jack Powell forced a very good save from Laurie Walker following a free-kick. The resulting corner was only half-cleared by Oldham as James Tilley smashed home the rebound to give Crawley an ounce of hope.
All hopes were dashed after Dylan Bahamboula tapped in Oldham’s fourth. Morris made an excellent save to deny Nick Adams, but the rebound fell kindly to the Oldham winger, who could not miss.
Crawley get back on the road on Saturday as they travel to Roots Hall to take on Southend United.
Reds XI: Morris; Francomb (Davies 53’), Tunnicliffe, Craig, McNerney (Tilley 46’), Tsaroulla (Sesay 68’); Hessenthaler, J. Wright, Powell; Matthews (Nadesan 40’), Nichols.