Exeter suffered their first defeat in five games with Tom Nichols’ penalty and a late Ashley Nadesan goal giving Crawley a 2-0 home victory.
The play-off-chasing Grecians lost the Sky Bet League Two clash after having Tom Parkes sent off shortly after the interval.
Crawley head coach John Yems, who criticised his side for conceding two “terrible goals” in the 2-1 defeat at Grimsby, made three changes including calling up Jordan Maguire-Drew.
The former Leyton Orient man threatened midway through the first half when he volleyed over from 20 yards.
Exeter striker Ben Seymour, who scored his first league goal in the win at Colchester, shot into the side netting early on from Jake Caprice’s cross.
Forward Davide Rodari, called up for his full league debut by Crawley, had a tame shot held by keeper Jokull Andresson after Nadesan had fired over on a quick counter attack.
Exeter’s Icelandic keeper Andresson kept his side on terms by parrying a goal-bound effort by Jack Powell before the Grecians were reduced to ten men with the dismissal of Parkes.
Parkes received a straight red card six minutes after the break for a late challenge on Nick Tsaroulla.
Crawley broke the deadlock just after the hour when Caprice pulled down Tsaroulla and former Exeter striker Nichols, who had missed his previous two penalties, made no mistake this time from the spot.
Nadesan made the game safe for the Reds seven minutes from time from close range after Nichols’ cross.