It came in the 19th minute when he deflected a shot from Jordan Clarke past his own goalkeeper Brian Jenson, who later pulled off a string of fine saves to keep his team in the match.
It helped struggling Scunthorpe to only their second win in 11 games and keeps the Iron three points clear of the bottom four.
Scunthorpe dominated the opening half in terms of possession but could not add to their lead. At the opposite end Crawley had little to offer as an attacking force.
The Iron continued to press after the interval and went close a number of times before they were finally rewarded again in the 63rd minute when leading scorer Paddy Madden pounced with his 17th goal of the season from close range after the visitors had failed to clear a corner.
Izale McLeod threw below-par Crawley a lifeline in the 76th minute when he reduced the arrears against the run of play.
But it was not enough to save his side from only their second defeat in seven games.