Crawley's wait for a win against Premier League opposition continues after they bowed out of the FA Cup 3-1 at home to Reading.
An upset looked on the cards when Nicky Adams put Reds ahead with just 14 seconds on the clock.
But Reading put their Premier League woes behind them as goals from Adam Le Fondre and Noel Hunt made it 2-1 before the break and Le Fondre made sure of the Royals' place in the fourth round from the penalty spot shortly after the break.
The result was harsh on Crawley who more than held their own in an entertaining contest but were undone by more clinical finishing from the top flight side.
A record crowd of 5,880 were in their seats long before kick-off to soak up the atmosphere and it was a good job as Reds made a blistering start.
Just 14 seconds were on the clock when Adams picked up the ball midway inside the Reading half before cutting in from the right and unleashing an unstoppable shot into the top corner.
Reading looked understandably dazed and could have fallen further behind when Adam Federici tipped over a header from Hope Akpan.
The visitors have a reputation for high-scoring games and another looked on the cards when they equalised in the 13th minute.
Hal Robson-Kanu drilled over a cross from the left which Gareth McCleary headed down for Le Fondre to blast home from ten yards.
Paul Jones then had to make a smart stop at his near post from Hunt as Reading briefly threatened to take control of the game.
Reds regained their composure pretty quickly and Federici was called into action to gather a straightforward shot from Josh Simpson and then did well to smother an effort from Mike Jones.
Billy Clarke also sent a shot fizzing just wide from 25 yards but instead of going in leading at half-time they found themselves 2-1 down.
McClearey was heavily involved once again as she beat Mat Sadler before driving in a low cross which Hunt met emphatically at the near post.
It was a terrible end to the first half and the second didn’t start much better either as Reading made it 3-1 within four minutes.
The award of a penalty was somewhat dubious as Joe Walsh slid in on Hunt and appeared to get a toe to the ball but Le Fondre ignored the protests to slam the spot-kick into the roof of the net.
Reds refused to give up and Federici had to save well from Adams and Sadler as they tried to set up an exciting finish while Adams smashed a shot right across the face of goal.