Steve Jones hit his fourth goal in three games as Crewe grabbed an injury-time winner against bottom-of-the-table Huddersfield.
It looked as though the promotion contenders would be unable to take advantage against ten-man opposition after spurning late chances, but Jones popped up to clinch a 1-0 victory.
Visiting keeper keeper Scott Bevan had been sent off in the 62nd minute by referee Mark Cowburn after charging out of his box to deny Jones a goalscoring opportunity as the forward raced in on goal.
But stand-in Phil Senior made great saves to deny Rob Hulse and substitute Paul Edwards, before he failed to hold Hulse's late crashing header and Jones hit in the rebound to give Crewe the three points.
Huddersfield had belied their lowly position by enjoying large amounts of possession, but failed to show a cutting edge in front of goal.
David Wright had Crewe's best chance of the first half when he cut in from the flank onto David Vaughan's pass but Bevan got his body behind his vicious angled drive.
Kenny Irons hit an hopeful shot from outside the box but Ademole Bankole was tested by Martin Smith's 20-yard volley shortly afterwards, which he clutched at the second attempt.
A slip-up by Kenny Lunt as he failed to control a pass outside his own box allowed Huddersfield a chance to profit in the 20th minute with Irons and Andy Booth playing a give-and-go to create the opening for the midfielder to drill a low shot across the face of goal, which Bankole was down quickly to hold.
Booth was a handful in the air, but caused less concerns on the ground and when he cut in from the left his trundling shot went one bounce through into Bankole's arms.
It was uninspiring fare before the break, although Dwayne Mattis should have been more decisive on the right of the box as he latched onto a pass from Simon Baldry, but by the time he shot defender Dave Walton was in the way to block the effort.
Vaughan had a great chance at the start of the second period, but shot straight at Bevan's legs after running in on the left of the box unchallenged by a sleeping defence.
But the turning point came in the 62nd minute with Bevan charging out of his box as Jones broke through on the right onto Neil Sorvel's pass. As he collided with the forward he appeared to handle the loose ball.
Referee Cowburn was surrounded by furious Town players, but still issued the red card and substitute keeper Senior was brought on in place of Irons.
From the resulting free kick Hulse crashed a near-post header a couple of yards wide.
Then Lunt shot wide as Crewe looked to make their one-man advantage count with Foster soon heading over from Lunt's free kick.
Senior then denied Hulse after the striker had bustled in on goal and palmed substitute Paul Edwards' first-time shot away, before he was finally beaten with almost the last kick of the game.
Victorious boss Dario Gradi pointed out: "It was a goal we deserved as we stuck at it and kept trying to play good football rather than resort to whacking long balls." But visiting manager Mick Wadsworth was angry about Bevan's dismissal and pointed out: "Scott said he didn't handle it and he's an honest lad. He saved it with his chest."