A disjointed Crawley Town fell to their third straight League Two defeat in a frustrating 2-1 loss away to Stevenage this afternoon.
Two soft goals gave the hosts their third win of the season at a rain-soaked Broadhall Way.
Tyler Walker slotted into the bottom corner two minutes before half-time and Jack King’s side-footed effort on a loose ball found the net after the break.
James Collins did pull one back with six minutes left as he headed home from close range, but it was too little too late for Reds.
A few of the travelling fans voiced their unhappiness in the second half, but Reds had themselves spurned a number of chances in the first-half as both teams squandered opportunities.
The visitors made five changes from the defeat at Pompey as Mitch Beeney came in between the sticks for his first league start and Joe McNerney, Josh Payne, Chris Arthur and Billy Clifford returned.
Despite hinting that he may be available, Dermot Drummy was unable to include new Bissau-Guinean man Kaby Djaló, as international clearance hasn’t arrived.
An early Payne effort deflected just wide when it looked as though it may nestle high in the net, and from the corner, Clifford picked out James Collins ten yards out and he hit just right of the post.
The striker again went close as a teasing Jason Banton ball from the left just eluded everyone in the six-yard box.
At the other end, Kgosi Ntlhe’s deflected effort had Beeney scrambling, but it landed on the roof of the net.
The home side had a goal chalked out on 11 minutes as Matt Godden, brought down a neat pass and fired past Beeney, but the flag was up for a tight offside call.
The hosts responded well midway through the half and combined with a number of bad decisions from Reds carved out a couple of half chances that whistled past the uprights.
Stevenage should have been ahead on the half-hour mark as King headed against the crossbar and a great block by Mark Connolly denied Walker as he looked to smash home the follow-up.
A minute later, the hosts then cleared off their own line as Enzio Boldewijn cut-back for Banton and his close-range effort was turned over by Fraser Franks.
But it was Stevenage that grabbed the half-time lead as two minutes before the break, Walker simply slotted into the far corner.
It was a soft one after the home side won the ball in midfield and Andrew Fox picked out the striker, who was allowed time and space on the edge of the box, to roll past Beeney.
Right at the start of the second half, Payne’s chipped through-ball found Smith, but the skipper volleyed just wide, while at the other end Godden’s fierce volley went just over the bar.
Stevenage doubled their lead on 55 minutes as a ball from the left was half cleared and King ran forwards onto the loose ball and side-footed home from 25 yards.
It could have been more as Beeney parried Luke Wilkinson’s stinging effort and collected King’s follow-up header.
Reds did give themselves a late lifeline as Collins headed home after Clifford got to the byline and stood the ball up with six minutes left.
It brought about a frantic last few moments, but Stevenage held out four minutes of added time in which Reds threw McNerney up front as another striker.
Crawley: Beeney, Young, Connolly, McNerney, Arthur (Blackman 51), Payne, Smith, Boldwijn (Yussuf 53), Clifford, Banton (Bawling 67), Collins. Unused subs: Davey, Yorwerth, Tajbakhsh, Yussuf, Mersin.
Stevenage: Jones, Lee, Franks, Wilkinson, Ntlhe, Pett, Fox, King, Godden (Cowans 90), Walker (Liburd 76). Unused subs: Day, McAnuff, Kennedy, Hunte, Lee.
Attendance: 2157 (212 away).
Referee: Trevor Kettle.
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