Steve Evans believes justice has been done after Crawley successfully appealed against their points deduction.

Reds go to Cambridge City today one point rather than four worse off in the Conference following yesterday’s four-hour hearing at FA headquarters in London.

The point for fielding Isaiah Rankin when he was not registered in last August’s 1-1 draw against Stevenage has been deducted.

But the FA decided that the Conference were wrong to add on a further three points for four substitute appearances totalling seven minutes.

Evans said: “Justice has been served. Everyone in football had sympathy for us when the original sanction was imposed.

“But there are no winners in this situation as we still lose a vital league point. We obviously feel elated as the original sanction was so harsh.”

The punishment was handed out in January when Oxford had five points taken away and Bognor seven after it was discovered that they had fielded unregistered players.

But neither club were punished for substitute appearances made by the players concerned Eddie Hutchinson (Oxford) and Sam Pearce and that formed the basis of Crawley’s 24-page appeal dossier which was put together by London-based barrister Alan Lewis.

Evans added: “No one can question the integrity of those that made the original decision but everyone questioned why we got singled out with a harsher sentence compared to other member clubs.

“It is not very often that a Football Conference club wins an appeal against one of their sanctions so for The FA to find in our favour shows our case must have been strong.

“The appeal being upheld also shows that the process when an injustice has been served actually works so from that point of view the Conference rules have been actioned.

“There is no doubt we need to learn from this. That point will never come back, despite our delight at the result.”

The Conference have accepted the FA appeal board’s decision and chairman Brian Lee revealed that a review into their administrative procedures, instigated after the registration problems first came to light, is making progress.

He said: “The structural and administration review at the Conference headquarters is progressing well under the direction of the review sub-committee. I am confident that we will have a final report and recommendations before the end of this season.”

Reds have dropped one place to eighth but they are just four points off the play-offs and have games in hand against both today’s opponents Cambridge and fourth-placed Stevenage.

Cambridge have won four successive away games since Reds hammered them 5-0 in the FA Trophy at the Abbey Stadium last month but Evans admits his side will have their work cut out.

He said: “Cambridge have a superb squad. They are a huge club for this level of football and they deserve to be in the Football League just for their fans alone who are superb.

“We will travel there knowing it will be a really tough match but I have every confidence we will be ready for it.”

Evans must decide whether to give starts to defender Santos Gaia and Gavin Hurren who both joined this week until the end of the season.

Centre-half Adam Quinn, who scored in the Trophy win, starts a two-match ban which also rules him out of Tuesday’s home clash with Wrexham, while Thomas Pinault and Jamie Cook are still sidelined.

Evans added: “We will miss Adam but we have had to deal with key players being missing for different reasons all season.

“Gavin Hurren and Santos Gaia will be involved, whether they start or not I still have to decide.

“They will give us further options over the next two months and it will help us be able to name a substitutes bench that is not full of kids and my assistant manager.”