A spectacular strike from Chuks Aneke condemned Sheffield United to a second successive away defeat in League One, writes Rob Lowson.
The 19 year-old midfielder, on loan from Arsenal, gave George Long no chance with a superb long-range curler four minutes after the re-start.
United remain in sixth position and trail fourth-placed Yeovil Town by three points and the Glovers boast a superior goal difference. Unless the Blades beat Preston North End on the final day of the season and results go their way, it seems likely they will be at home for the first leg of their play-off semi-final next week.
Blades boss Chris Morgan made five alterations to the team thumped 3-0 by Portsmouth last weekend. With Tony McMahon not risked because of an Achilles injury, Harry Maguire returns from suspension to take his place in the United backline.
Defender Darryl Westlake, midfielders Barry Robson and Callum McFadzean, and striker Jonathan Forte were also given the nod to start, with Matt Hill, Jamie Murphy, Ryan Flynn and Dave Kitson making way.
It was the visitors who created the first chance of the game on five minutes, with Alex keeper Steve Phillips denying skipper Michael Doyle following a free-kick from Robson.
Crewe’s first effort came on the quarter hour mark, but Newcastle loanee Bradden Inman’s long-range shot sailed harmlessly over the crossbar.
Although the Railwaymen enjoyed spells of possession, the best chances fell to the Blades and Phillips again produced a double save to thwart McFadzean, making his full league debut, and Chris Porter.
Crewe had their second attempt on goal after 39 minutes, but George Long was on-hand to deny Mark Ellis after Harry Davis’ cross.
The visitors made a change at the interval, with Murphy replacing Danny Higginbotham and McFadzean slotting in at left-back.
Morgan threw on Joe Ironside for Jonathan Forte after 65 minutes for his 14th substitute appearance of the campaign.
But it was Porter who was proving the Blades biggest threat, firing just over midway through the second period.
The visitors made their final change with 20 minutes remaining as Jordan Chapell replaced Robson, but further efforts from the lively Aneke ensured the 1,629 travelling fans were kept quiet.
Despite some late pressure, the Blades could not breakthrough with Phillips producing a fine stop to foil Porter in injury time.
Crewe: Phillips, Davis, Ellis, Leitch-Smith, Moore, Turton, Mellor, Osman, Aneke, Inman, Stewart.
Subs: Tootle, Clayton, Ray, Garratt, West, Colclough, Ellington.
United: Long, Westlake, Higginbotham, Maguire, Doyle, Porter, McDonald, Collins, Forte, Robson, McFadzean.
Subs: Flynn, Murphy, Ironside, Whitehouse, Barry, Chapell, Coyne.