NEWPORT County AFC will spend Christmas at the bottom of League Two following a 3-1 defeat at Crawley Town today.

The Exiles are also set to receive an FA fine after picking up no fewer than nine bookings.

James Collins headed the Reds in front but Joss Labadie equalised on the half hour.

Josh Yorwerth’s header put Crawley 2-1 up in the second half and Jimmy Smith added a third.

The fans at the Stadium had hardly been given time to settle in their seats when the home side took the lead after just three minutes.

Jordan Roberts provided the assist for Collins to power a header past Joe Day and force the Exiles to play catch-up from the start.

There was a sign of things to come when Crawley’s Andre Blackman was booked for a heavy challenge.

Seven more players would find their way into the referee’s notebook in the remainder of the first half alone.

Tom Owen-Evans and Josh Sheehan were off target with efforts either side of a caution for Labadie, before a melee in the Crawley box resulted in Josh O’Hanlon and Roberts being shown yellows.

The indiscipline continued as Crawley looked to break down the left, with County skipper Scot Bennett sliding in on Roberts, a challenge that led to another fracas between the sides.

Bennett, for the foul, and Darren Jones and Town’s Enzio Boldewijn, for their part in the pushing and shoving, were all cautioned.

Apart from the cards being dished out, there wasn’t much flow to the game and neither keeper was severely tested.

However, on 33 minutes the visitors were level, and it was Labadie who grabbed the equaliser.

The lively Jazzi Barnum-Bobb pulled the ball back to Labadie on the edge of the box and the midfielder struck a shot which looked to take a slight touch off the head of Crawley centre-back Yorwerth.

If it didn’t then the defender certainly unsighted home keeper Glenn Morris.

Jackson, who had been booked minutes later, might have felt he should have done better when a ball into the Crawley box caused panic.

It seemed as though Ben Tozer was going to pull the trigger but he laid the ball back to Jackson and his attempt cleared the bar.

That was just about Jackson’s last involvement in the match as he was replaced by Rhys Healey during the interval.

And Healey, with his first touch, almost put County ahead soon after the restart.

Finding space on the edge of the Crawley area, Healey forced Glenn Morris into a smart save to his left.

Referee Nick Kinseley then booked Jennison Myrie-Williams, just a few seconds before the hosts regained the lead.

Crawley skipper Jimmy Smith swung a lovely cross into the County box and Yorwerth rose superbly to power a header past Day.

Back down the other end and the referee was taking out his notebook once more, as Mark Connolly went in too hard on O’Hanlon.

But Connolly needn’t have worried too much as it wasn’t long before his side had given themselves a two-goal cushion.

A Roberts cross was headed down by Collins to Smith and, after steadying himself, the captain drilled a left-foot shot past Day.

Yellow cards numbers seven and eight for County went to Healey and Tozer, making it 12 in all.

There was still some hope for County, despite being 3-1 down, but if any side looked like scoring again it was Crawley.

Speedy left-back Blackman had pace to burn and some sloppy County defending allowed him to burst into the box before blasting over.

Then the hosts should have got a fourth when the visitors were undone at the back again.

Billy Clifford got in front of Barnum-Bobb and tried to flick the ball past Day.

The keeper saved with his foot but, with the goal gaping, Roberts somehow contrived to fire wide from no more than 10 yards.

He was one of the few County players not to be booked and Josh Sheehan appeared to be their best hope of salvaging something from the trip to West Sussex.

First, the youngster almost found the top corner with a free-kick, only to be denied by Morris, then the County player shot high and wide from a tight angle.

There had to be another booking, and unluckily for the Exiles it went to Barnum-Bobb – nine in total means a fine is going to be heading County’s way.

And if they hadn’t realised the luck wasn’t with them, they certainly knew it in the closing stages.

O’Hanlon was unlucky when his thunderbolt of a left-foot strike smashed against the crossbar, while in injury-time Sheehan had a goal ruled out after Healey won a penalty.

Sheehan hit the bar with his spot-kick, the ball came back to him and he dispatched it into the net.

However, the referee deemed that the keeper had not got a touch on the ball, which meant the strike was ruled out.

Crawley: Morris, Young, Connolly, Yorwerth, Blackman, Smith (capt), Payne, Boldewijn (Bawling 81), Clifford (Djalo 90+1), Roberts (Yussuf 87), Collins.

Subs not used: Beeney, Davey, McNerney, Henderson.

Booked: Blackman, Roberts, Boldewijn, Connolly County: Day, Barnum-Bobb, Jones, Bennett, Myrie-Williams, Tozer (Wood 75), Owen-Evans, Sheehan, Labadie (Green 66), O'Hanlon, Jackson (Healey 45).

Subs not used: Randall, Bignot, Bittner, Meite Booked: Labadie, O’Hanlon, Jones, Bennett, Jackson, Healey, Myrie-Williams, Tozer, Barnum-Bobb

Referee: Nick Kinseley

Attendance: 2,022 (including 168 away fans)