ACCRINGTON Stanley surged 16 points clear at the top of the Nationwide Conference table thanks to a Gary Roberts wonder goal.
The winger got the ball on the right wing three minutes before half-time and chipped the ball superbly over keeper Phil Smith.
It was one moment of magic in a game in which the Reds had to battle hard against crisis club Crawley.
The day before, all Town's players were put on the transfer list and the chairman has allegedly cut their wages.
There were protests from fans who invaded the pitch at the start and also threw two flares on throughout the match.
But Crawley's players managed to put their off the field problems to the back of their minds to give Stanley a real fight.
Top scorer Daryl Clare had a shot cleared off the line in the opening minutes by Leam Richardson and, at the death, Phil Edwards stuck his foot out on the goalline to stop Neil Jenkins grabbing a late equaliser.
It was tense stuff with Stanley keeper Rob Elliot almost getting on the scoresheet with the last kick when Smith had come up for a corner and he tried to catch him out - with the Crawley keeper scrambling back to deny him.
"The final whistle was like taking a pair of too tight shoes off - the relief is unbelievable," said John Coleman. "We had to really work hard there and we weren't helped by the build up in which Robbie Williams was suspended, Peter Cavanagh had to drop out with injury and Michael Welch suffered a migraine over night. But the lads who came in stood up and were counted."