Crawley's hopes of mounting a play-off challenge took a big dent as they went down 2-1 at lowly Scunthorpe United.

Matt Sparrow gave Reds the lead just three minutes into the second half after good work from Billy Clarke but the home side hit back with two goals in the space of 12 minutes.

Jimmy Ryan equalised in the 67th minute after Paul Jones had saved well from Tom Newey and then Niall Canavan headed home the winner from a corner.

The result leaves Crawley down in 15th in League One and they are now nine points off the play-off zones, although they have games in hand.

Scunthorpe were looking to win back-to-back home games for the first time in nearly three years and made a confident start.

Paul Jones had to be alert to tip a shot from Akpo Sodje shot over the bar and the Crawley goalkeeper then pushed a powerful effort from Mark Duffy around a post.

Sodje also crashed a header from a corner over the bar while Jones was called into action again to save an awkward downward header from Sodje with Michael Collins nodding against the bar from the corner.

Crawley got into some promising positions at the other end only to be let down by their final ball.

Reds had most of their joy down the left with Mat Sadler beating his man before driving a low ball across the face of goal which Jamie Proctor was unable to get anything on.

Nicky Adams looked the most likely to make something happen but twice he cut inside the box without being able to find a team-mate from his cut back.

In the end Crawley’s best chance of the opening 45 minutes came from Mike Jones who fired a powerful shot wide from 25 yards.

After being second best in the first half it took Crawley just three minutes after the break to take the lead.

Billy Clarke did all the hard work as he twisted and turned past his marker at the byline and his low cross came back to Sparrow to fire into the empty net from ten yards.

Crawley almost doubled their lead when Mike Jones drilled a half volley just wide from the edge of the area and were also unable to make the most of two excellent situations on the counter attack.

It came back to haunt them in the 67th minute when Scunthorpe equalised. Paul Jones made a fine initial save from Tom Newey but the ball broke to Jimmy Ryan to fire home from close range.

Reds almost regained the lead when Proctor headed against the bar and the game swung completely in the other direction when Canavan gave Scunthorpe the lead with 11 minutes to go by heading home a corner at the far post.

Crawley boss Richie Barker threw on strikers Lateef Elford-Alliyu and Jonte Smith as he tried to salvage something from the game and Elford-Alliyu went close when he blasted just over from 12 yards.