Reds interim manager Dean Saunders reckoned Crawley should have drawn level when chances were missed to score at 2-1.
He said: “The boys who came on gave us energy and pace.
“When we got back to 2-1 I thought we looked the better side but missed three or four golden chances you can’t miss.
“It wasn’t a 4-1 game but in the first half they were much the better side to be fair.
“We got overrun, they are a good team and looked sharper than us.
“You could tell they have been together a long time and that we’re still evolving a bit.
“We had three players out there (Lewis Price, Darren Ward and Anthony Wordsworth) who have hardly played recently and guys like Gwion Edwards and Ryan Dickson who wanted to play and help the team out but who aren’t 100% fit.
“The effort was there but at least we didn’t throw the towel in at half-time when we were 2-0 down and up against it.
“Lewis saved the penalty and that seemed to give us some belief but it wasn’t to be.”