Crawley Town suffered their fifth successive defeat when a goal in each half decided what was a poor display by Reds at the Checkatrade Stadium.
Crewe took the lead through Uche Ikpeazu on 16 minutes and although Jamie Proctor got Reds back on to level terms in the 60th minute with a great finish, Bradden Inman scored the Alex’s winner with 11 minutes to go.
Manager John Gregory made three changes to the side which narrowly lost 2-1 at Port Vale on Tuesday.
Kyle McFadzean returned from suspension and came in with Sergio Torres and Gary Dicker.
Dannie Bulman was suspended, Andy Drury was left out ill while Paul Connolly was on the bench.
Matt Tubbs was still not recovered from a hamstring strain which had caused him to miss the previous two games which allowed Rory Fallon to keep his place up front,
It was a quiet start with Rory Fallon’s turned down penalty appeal which looked like it was outside the area the only attack in the opening 15 minutes.
Crewe then took the lead when Reds failed to stop a run by Mathias Pogba who fired a shot which keeper Paul Jones spilled leaving Uche Ikpeazu a simple tap-in.
At the other end Billy Clarke immediately drove a dangerous shot on-target from the left which keeper Ben Garratt tipped over the bar.
Reds did not manage any more attacks before half-time while Rory Fallon, Gary Dicker and Kyle McFadzean all received yellow cards.
The second half began with Arsenal loanee Chuks Aneke having two chance for the visitors, the first from a cross being saved by Paul Jones, who also caught the second which was a free header from a corner kick.
Clarke then delivered a dangerous ball into the six yard box toward Fallon but it was headed clear by defender Mark Ellis.
Gregory made two changes to try to get Crawley back into the game as Jamie Proctor replaced Clarke upfront and Jeffrey Monakana came on for Mike Jones.
The substitutions brought energy to the attack which had looked flat for much of the game.
Mark Connolly fired a shot which was deflected on to a post and Jamie Proctor, who had replaced Clarke, blasted straight at ‘keeper Garratt.
Crawley equalised in spectacular style when Jamie Proctor struck from 20 yards from just outside to the right of the penalty area in the 69th minute a ball which flew straight into the top left corner.
Crewe nearly regained the lead moments later when Aneke played a one-two with Liam Nolan and he shot inches wide of the post.
The visitors grabbed the winner on 79 minutes when Monakana lost possession and Byron Moore set up substitute Bradden Inman with a throughball on the break which he knocked in from close-range.
Reds tried in vain to equalise again in the closing stages when a shot by Connolly was deflected wide for a corner.
Reds: Paul Jones, Mat Sadler, Mark Connolly, Kyle McFadzean, Billy Clarke (Jamie Proctor 57), Sergio Torres, Rory Fallon (Sulley Kaikai 86), Josh Simpson, Joe Walsh, Mike Jones (Jeffrey Monakana 57), Gary Dicker
Subs: Jamie Proctor, Hiram Boateng, Jeffrey Monaka, Jonathan Maddison, Gwion Edwards, Paul Connolly
Crewe: Ben Garratt, Matt Tottle, Mark Ellis, Adam Dugdale, Matthias Pogba (Bradden Inman 72), Byron Moore, John Guthrie, Liam Nolan, Chuks Aneke George Ray 85), Uche Ikpeazu (Vadaine Oliver 65), Anthony Grant.
Subs: Steve Phillips, Kelvin Mello, Abdul Osman, George Ray, Bradden Inman, Vadaine Oliver, Billy Waters
Referee: Trevor Kettle
Attendance: 3,024 (220 away)