OLLIE Palmer marked his return from a ban with the crucial goal in Crawley’s 1-0 win against Cheltenham Town today.

Striker Palmer, back after a five-match suspension, scored a 39th-minute penalty given against Jordon Forster for handball at the People’s Pension Stadium to seal the three points in League Two.

Reds made two changes from the side which triumphed over Colchester, with striker Palmer and Joe Maguire returning.

Palmer came straight back in after completing his suspension following his dismissal against Northampton.

And he was back to his bristling best with a hard-working display leading the line and also earning the crucial spot-kick.

Cheltenham gave Cameron Pring his debut after he joined from Bristol City on loan until the end of the season, while former Reds goal-getter Tyrone Barnett came in for Luke Varney.

Poleon had Reds’ first chance in the 11th minute, taking on the full-back and beating him for pace before checking back on himself and getting in a low right foot shot Scott Flinders saved at his near post.

A Jacob Maddox header was easily collected by Crawley keeper Morris from a cross pulled back tight to the left touchline after 19 minutes as the visitors threatened.

Old boy Barnett got his head to a long throw in but again it was straight at Morris as Cheltenham went a direct route.

It was a routine repeated in the 29th minute but this time Barnett put his header wide.

Reds took the lead in the 39th minute when Palmer stroked home from the penalty spot.

The big striker earned the spot-kick when he tried to take Mark Connolly’s long ball inside Town’s Forster and the ball was cut out by the defender’s arm.

Cheltenham had a great chance to level in first-half stoppage time as Alex Addai got in behind the Reds defence but from right of the penalty area he pulled his shot horribly wide.

Reds made a good start to the second half with Palmer played in over the top but he was unable to get his shot off before Payne had a follow up effort charged down.

Palmer caused more problems in the 52nd minute when he powered in a shot that deflected across the face of goal for Dominic Poleon to lunge at without the necessary purchase to get it on target.

Crawley continued to make the running in a bright start to the half with Josh Payne cleverly finding balls in behind the Robins’ defence.

It was not all one-way traffic, Crawley had to defend resolutely at times as Town rung the changes with Varney and Ryan Broom both brought off the bench.

Broom had half-hearted appeals for a penalty ignored as he went down in front of the away fans.

And he lashed wide in the 82nd minute after a break down the left sat up for him.

Connolly marked an impressive appearance with a goal-saving header off the line after Ben Tozer beat Morris nodded past Morris in the 87th minute.

Crawley Town: Morris, Doherty, Payne (Bulman 86), Connolly, Palmer, Poleon (Grego-Cox 80), Gambin, Francomb, Maguire, Sesay (Young 65), Camara.

Subs: Mersin, Nathaniel-George, N’Gala.

Cheltenham Town: Flinders, Hussey, Tozer, Atangana (Dawson 72), Thomas, Addai (Varney 63), Maddox (Broom 63), Forster, Clements, Pring, Barnett.

Subs: Lovett, Bower, Lloyd, Alcock.

Referee: Christopher Sarginson.

Attendance: 2,623 (216 away).