Goals from Oliver Finney and Owen Dale gave Crewe an important 2-1 win over Bolton at the County Ground.
Finney’s first half leveller cancelled out Olawale Tanimowo’s header for the hosts, before Dale’s 70th minute striker sealed the game.
The win keeps Crewe fifth in the Professional Development League, but are now level on points with tonight’s opponents and only one point off Birmingham in second, having played a game more.
It was the visitors who saw plenty of the ball early on, Joshua Lundstram having the game’s first chance as he fired narrowly wide from the edge of the area.
Bolton began to grow into the half, however, Luca Navarro the focal point for the majority of the play.
The former Bamber Bridge loanee received the ball on 14 minutes before surging forward and unleashing an effort from 25 yards which was straight at Crewe ‘keeper Dave Richards.
Wanderers remained on top and opened the scoring on 20 minutes, Dennis Politic’s cross from the right hand side finding Olawale Tanimowo who headed in from close range.
Richards was forced into action again four minutes later, scrambling back towards his line to tip a deflected effort round the post.
Tanimowo then almost added his second in what was almost a carbon copy of his goal, this time however the ball was headed behind by a Crewe defender.
Navarro had Bolton’s next chance, cutting inside before unleashing an effort from the edge of the box which deflected narrowly wide.
Despite Bolton’s dominance it was the visitors that equalised, Oliver Finney receiving the ball from just inside the area before curling the ball left footed into the left corner on 41 minutes.
Crewe still had defensive problems despite their leveller, Jack Earing racing clear on goal before his shot was again well parried by Richards in the Alex goal – the last action of the first half.
The second half began in a similar vein to how first half ended, with Bolton in the ascendency.
Politic tested the gloves of Richards with 48 minutes on the clock, the night beginning to develop into a cold one at the County Ground.
Crewe’s first chance of the half came on 53 minutes, Finney’s audacious curling effort from a right sided free kick parried by James Aspinall.
The next period of the half was end to end, both sides seeing plenty of the ball in advanced areas but not able to put together a dangerous attack.
Owen Dale had the next real opportunity on 74 minutes, firing a 30 yard effort which Aspinall had to parry then claim at the second attempt.
The pattern was repeated at the other end, Navarro having an effort from similar range two minutes later, this time his shot clearing the bar.
The visitors were then able to extend their advantage, arguably against the run of play, when on 78 minutes they worked the ball across the box to Dale on the left, who fired into the bottom corner.
There was a concern for Bolton on 83 minutes when goal scorer Tanimowo went down, but he was able to carry on.
And despite Wanderers’ best efforts, including a Shakeel Jones-Griffiths drive late on that was well saved by Richards & a last minute goalmouth scramble involving ‘keeper Aspinall, Crewe were able to hold on and claim an all-important victory.
Bolton XI; Aspinall (GK), Brockbank, Johnson, Zouma, Hartshorne, Phillips (Sankoh 70), Politic, Jones-Griffiths, Tanimowo, Earing, Navarro
Subs not used: Duke-McKenna, Alexander, Boon, Broughton,
Goalscorers: Tanimowo (20)
Crewe XI: Richards (GK), Barden, Johnson, Lynch, Lundstram, Offord, Linton (Reilly 66), Finney, Griffiths, Lowery, Dale
Subs not used: Booth, Sass-Davies, Fenton, Adebisi
Goalscorers: Finney (41), Dale (78)
Referee: Mr J Bell