Crawley Town’s three-match unbeaten run ended with a 3-0 defeat at Crewe thanks to a Chris Dagnall brace and a goal by Callum Ainley.
Ainley gave the Railwaymen the lead in the 39th minute with a piece of brilliance from a narrow angle.
Crewe made it 2-0 on the stroke of half-time through Dagnall’s glancing header.
Reds skipper Jimmy Smith was sent-off after 60 minutes after receiving a straight red card.
Jorsan Roberts was also red-carded for his second yellow card of the match.
Finally Dagnall added a 90th minute third goal on the rebound to clinch Crewe’s second victory in seven matches.
Both sides made just one change to their line-ups with Harry Kewell giving a return to striker Thomas Verheydt in place of Josh Lelan who was on the bench.
Crewe boss Dave Artell rested top scorer Chris Porter following Wednesday night’s 1-0 FA Cup 2nd round replay defeat against League 1 club Blackburn Rovers and handed a start to Jordan Bowery.
Reds hit the woodwork from a breakaway when Josh Payne’s strike from the edge of the area hit Verheydt and rebounded off the crossbar.
Crewe had a chance from Bowery who was unmarked at the far post but put his shot wide.
George Cooper put Glenn Morris to the test from long-range following free-kick which he caught.
Tommy Lowery went close for Crewe with a deflected shot which Morris saved with his legs before Dagnall put the rebound wide.
Morris then survived a sending-off appeal when he brought down Ainley outside the area in the 34th minute but stayed on with a booking.
Eddie Nolan volleyed narrowly over the bar from the ensuing free-kick.
Crewe went ahead six minutes before half-time with a superbly-taken strike into the top corner by Ainley after Cooper lifted a pass over Lewis Young.
Alexandra went into half-time leading 2-0 when Cooper’s free-kick found Dagnall who glanced home past Morris.
Reds went close early in the second half when Lewis Young found Roberts in space but his attempt was deflected wide.
Young then was so close with a cross which nearly reached substitute Ibrahim Meite in a dangerous position, who had replaced Enzio Boldeijn at half-time.
Verheydt was inches away from connecting with Meite’s cross as Reds looked more threatening.
However Smith was sent-off for a mystery offence on the hour, reducing Crawley to ten men for the last 30 minutes.
Morris denied Dagnall before Reds made their second substitution as Moussa Senoh came on for Cedric Evina.
Sanoh rattled the corner of the crossbar from the left with 15 minutes to go with a powerful strike.
Crawley’s agony was compounded as six minutes before the end Roberts was sent-off for a second bookable offence and they were reduced to nine men.
Sanoh was denied by keeper Ben Garratt in the closing stages as the referee signalled five minutes of injury-time.
Dagnall made it 3-0 in the 94th minute when he tapped in from close-range after an initial shot by Conor Grant was spilled by Morris.
Crawley Town: Morris, Young, Connolly, Yorwerth, Evina (Sanoh 65), Smith (capt), Payne, Randall, Boldewijn (Meite 46), Roberts, Verheydt
Unused subs: Mersin, Lewis, Lelan, Doherty, Bulman
Crewe: Garrett, Ng, Bakayogo, Raynes, Dagnall (capt), Bowery, Cooper, Nolan, Ainley (Walker 85), Lowery, Pickering (Grant 83)
Unused subs: Richards, Stubbs, Kirk, Reilly, Porter
Attendance: 3,155 (69)
Referee: Ben Toner