A TWICE-taken penalty proved the difference as Hayes & Yeading lost at Crawley on Monday.
Hayes defender Matt Ruby tripped Crawley's Michael Malcolm in the box after 54 minutes and referee John Hopkins pointed to the spot.
The United skipper, who was booked for the challenge, looked like escaping further punishment when keeper Clark Masters saved Simon Rusk's penalty
However, the referee spotted Hayes players encroaching and ordered a retake. Danny Forrest stepped up in place of Rusk and slammed the ball home for the only goal of the game.
It was a bitter blow for Hayes who had already lost Esmond James after 30 minutes with a twisted knee on his return to the side.
James had been Hayes' best creative outlet, and with Scott Fitzgerald and Steve Basham both missing through injury, the away side caused few problems.
In fact, it took until the 77 th minute for Hayes to muster their first effort on goal but Marc Canham's free-kick was easily saved by home keeper Nick Jordan.
Crawley had the better of a dull first-half, Forrest had an effort ruled out for offside while Masters denied Barry Cogan.
After Crawley went in front in the second period there were few other chances, although home substitute Charlie Ademano blasted over from six yards.
Hayes sub Andrejs Stolcers saw his free-kick saved by Jordan in the dying moments but there was little else to cheer for the 45 away fans who made the trip to the Broadfield Stadium.