Scott Lindsey admitted that it was “never a pipe dream” that his young Crawley side could challenge for a play-off place after making it five wins in six games with a 2-1 home victory over Notts County.

The Red Devils stunned their opponents, who finished with 10 men, with two late goals from Klaidi Lolos and substitute Ade Adeyemo after Sam Austin had given County a first-half lead.

Crawley have thrived on the motivation of being considered as relegation candidates at the start of the season to play with no pressure, and they now stand in ninth place, two points behind AFC Wimbledon with two games in hand.

“I always believed in the players during the summer and it was never a pipe dream,” Lindsey said.

Crawley have gone on their impressive run without three key senior players in Ben Gladwin, Dion Conroy and Liam Kelly, who are all out injured.

Lindsey has been delighted with the bravery and character his side have been showing of late.

He enthused: “We were unbelievable in the second half in the way we attacked them.

“I heard the Notts manager saying after their previous game that they were struggling to defend balls in the box and we used that as a tool.”

This was the fifth successive defeat suffered by Stuart Maynard side and he admitted his men were put under tremendous pressure after the 73rd-minute dismissal of midfielder Scott Robertson for two bookable offences.

Maynard said: “I think it was only five minutes later when they scored and in the end we were indebted to our keeper for not losing a lot worse.

“I’m very frustrated about the sending off because I thought it changed the game.

“Scott Robertson got a booking for taking a throw-in; OK the second booking was for pulling someone down and fair enough.

“But we always tell our players to get the ball back in play as quickly as you can and Scott was only doing this. He didn’t know whose ball it was.”