Crawley eased their relegation fears and ended MK Dons’s play-off hopes with a comfortable 2-0 victory at stadium:mk.
Andy Drury got Reds off to a flying start as they attempted to end a run of six consecutive defeats by giving them the lead after just seven minutes.
Mike Jones doubled the advantage in first half injury time and Crawley rarely looked in danger of letting Dons back into the game in the second half.
The result lifted Crawley six points above the drop zone and means they can virtually guarantee their survival by beating Tranmere at home on Tuesday.
Drury had missed the previous two games through illness but made a welcome return in the advanced role of a five-man midfield.
Jamie Proctor was the only other change in personnel as he started as the lone striker with top scorer Matt Tubbs only on the bench and Billy Clarke not in the squad due to a hand injury.
It was Proctor who was the architect of Crawley’s opening goal after just seven minutes. The striker brilliantly got a high ball under control on the halfway line before holding off a defender to set Drury away with a lovely pass.
Drury kept his cool to slot past the advancing David Martin to give Reds the lead that their play in the opening stages of the game definitely merited.
Reds made an early substitution after ten minutes with Paul Connolly, who kept his place at right-back despite being charged by the FA for his altercation with a fan during the 1-0 defeat at Brentford on Tuesday, being replaced by Mark Connolly.
The home side had a great chance to level in the 21st minute but Izale McLeod lobbed well over the bar when well placed.
Crawley continued to enjoy plenty of possession with Mike Jones being given acres of space down the left but Dons created the next good opportunity, this time Dele Alli shooting straight at Paul Jones.
Reds got the second goal they deserved in injury time. Jordan Spence failed to deal with a long ball from Drury which allowed Proctor to get away. The striker looked to have delayed his shot too long but unselfishly squared to Mike Jones who had the simple task of rolling into an empty net.
Crawley were happy to keep what they had in the second half and although it handed Dons the initiative they were unable to carve out any real goalscoring opportunities.
The home side made a triple substitution just before the hour and switched to a 3-2-3-2 formation but it made little difference as they failed to test Reds keeper Paul Jones.
The closest Dons came to pulling a goal back was a long range effort from Spence which flashed just wide but otherwise Crawley kept them at bay comfortably to keep only their second clean sheet away from home of the season.
MK Dons (4-2-3-1): Martin; Baldock, Spence, Galloway (Rasulo, 58), Lewington; Kennedy (Loveridge, 58), Smith, Powell, Alli, Randall; McLeod (Odelusi, 58). Subs not used: Burns, Hall.
Crawley (4-2-3-1): P Jones; P Connolly (M Connolly, 10), McFadzean, Walsh, Sadler; Dicker, Bulman; Simpson, Drury (Torres, 78), M Jones; Proctor (Fallon, 88). Subs not used: Maddison, Edwards, Monakana, Tubbs.