Crawley suffered just their second home League Two defeat of the season as they were outplayed by lowly Cambridge United this afternoon.
Reds just weren’t at the races as their winless league run continued - with their last success coming back on October 1 when they beat Blackpool.
United meanwhile, under the management of Shaun Derry, continued their climb up the table having started the day sitting third from bottom.
It looked very different in the opening stages when James Collins fired the hosts into an early lead, but goals from Greg Taylor and Uche Ikpeazu put The U’s 2-1 ahead at half-time.
Luke Berry added a stunning free-kick early in the second half as the visitors easily closed out the game.
Reds made one change to the side that drew 1-1 with Bristol Rovers in the FA Cup last Saturday with Chris Arthur coming in at left-back for the suspended Andre Blackman.
Matt Harrold, Jordan Roberts and Addison Garnett continued their returns from injury by making the bench.
Reds had the perfect start as they led after just eight minutes as Collins popped up with his eighth goal of the campaign.
A lovely cross from Arthur was headed down in the box by Enzio Boldewijn and Collins smashed past Will Norris from six yards.
The visitors almost responded immediately as Ikpeazu raced through one on one after Arthur gifted the ball away, but the striker somehow fired wide.
The full-back then gifted United another chance after his pass to Alex Davey was short and Pietro Mingoia drove forwards before being ushered out.
The warning signs were there and the visitors levelled on 19 minutes through full-back Taylor with his first goal for the club. Poor defending from a free-kick saw the ball eventually fall to Taylor who finished past Glenn Morris.
Just nine minutes later the away side led through a superb finish from Ikpeazu. It came from route one stuff as a Reds attack broke down and a long ball released the striker who checked back and lobbed over Morris.
Crawley tried to hit back before the break as a Kaby Djalo corner was turned over the bar via the head of a defender and a couple of searching balls into the box were frantically cleared.
At the other end, Cambridge continued to look dangerous on the counter-attack as Max Clark dragged across goal and narrowly wide.
Centre-back Mark Connolly then had to be replaced just before the break after picking up an injury as a result of a tackle from Ikpeazu.
The defender received lengthy treatment on the pitch before unhappily trudging off and sending some choice words in the Cambridge man’s direction as he was replaced by Garnett.
Things got worse for Reds five minutes into the second half as Berry curled home a free-kick over the wall from fully 20 yards after a Davey foul.
Tempers then boiled over as Crawley substitute Adi Yussuf barged Ikpeazu off the ball in front of the away dugout and was booked for his rather cynical exploits.
Roberts continued his comeback from injury as he was brought on for the last 20 minutes as Reds tried to salvage something.
The closest they came to pulling a goal back was through a Billy Clifford effort off the outside of his boot that crept over at the corner of the post and crossbar.
The result sees Reds drop to 13th, although are still only two points from the play-offs in a tight top half.
Crawley: Morris, Young, Davey, Connolly (Garnett 43), Arthur, Bawling (Roberts 72), Smith, Djalo, Blackman, Boldewijn (Yussuf 51), Collins. Unused subs: Harrold, Tajbakhsh, Henderson, Beeney.
Cambridge: Norris, Haliday, Roberts, Legge, Taylor (Adams 72), Mingoia, Clark, Dunne, Dunk (Elito 69), Berry, Ikpeazu (Williamson 88). Unused subs: Coulson, Long, Maris, Gregory.
Attendance: 2,408 (328 away).
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