With Hayes & Yeading's main goalscoring threats both in the treatment room it was a somewhat blunt attacking performance from United with the points going the way of the hosts courtesy of a softly awarded re-taken penalty kick.
The first half was really in the control of the home side who created a few openings while nothing came back in return from a subdued United. It didn't look that way at the start though as within the first minute
With just 48 seconds played,
Crawley's Thomas Pinault fired a deep corner from the left that skipper Adam Quinn met at full stretch at the far post, his header flying well over the crossbar.
United were nearly caught out on six minutes when Matt Ruby tried a back heel out of defence only for Michael Malcolm to intercept and advance, thankfully he was stopped in his tracks by a superb recovering tackle from Ram Marwa.
Clark Masters first action came just before the quarter hour when Barry Cogan moved into the area on the right before firing an angled drive that the United keeper did well to block with Danny Allen-Page mopping up behind him.
The best chance of the half came minutes later when Pinault, Malcolm
and Simon Rusk combined on the right and the latter picked out an unmarked Danny Forrest in the six yard box but his header went into the ground and up into Masters' welcoming arms.
Quinn and Eddie Hutchinson both had headed chances late in the half without troubling Masters while United lost Esmond James on a stretcher after a nasty fall ten minutes before the break.
Sadly for the travelling fans the second half didn't really improve a great deal and just before the hour mark Town scored the crucial goal. A long ball from the back was misjudged by Ruby which allowed Malcolm to nip in behind him, the faintest of touches sending the Crawley man sprawling and the referee's assistant's flag across his chest. Simon Rusk stepped up and placed his shot to Masters right where he made an excellent grab only for referee Hopkins to order a re-take for alleged encroachment. The taker changed to Forrest who smacked the ball home giving Masters little or no chance.
Chances for a second continued for the home side, Masters comfortably held a Hutchinson back-heel volley from a Pinault corner before Malcolm and Ben Smith exchanged passes but the former fired wide of the United goal. The ever dangerous Malcolm was soon in the action again as he found Pinault via Cogan but the shot from the edge was too high.
United's first effort worthy of note came with eleven minutes remaining as Marwa was felled inches outside the area and the resultant free-kick by Adam Green evaded the wall but really only gave catching practice to Town keeper Nick Jordan.
Crawley should have put a seal on the game three minutes from time when substitute Charlie Ademeno was put through by Malcolm only to blast over from eight yards out. This could have proved a vital miss a minute later when a Štolcers free-kick was only just shoveled around the post by Jordan.
All in all the most exciting part of the day was the coach load of young ladies flashing "their bits" at the supporters coach on the M25 on our way to the game!!
Report by Kevin Watts.
Photos by Ray Peploe.
United Man of the Match: Marc Canham.