Boss John Gregory admitted the result was all that mattered as a much-changed Crawley side saw off Cambridge United in the second half to reach the second round of the JP Trophy.
Gregory admitted Reds were poor in the first half but the introduction of Charles Banya at half-time sparked them into life after the break.
An own goal from Richard Tait gave Crawley the lead with Banya capping a lively performance with his first ever senior goal.
Gregory said: "We were a bit negative in the first half but we changed it at half-time and Charles made a difference.
"It was important we won and keeping a clean sheet was a bonus. We should have won by more as Emmet (O'Connor) and Lewis (Young) both had good chances.
"But I'm delighted to have won with the team we had out there. We were missing a few players and had others carrying knocks so I was pleased with the performance."