Olly Lancashire’s diving header secured Crewe a 3-2 win after Bristol Rovers fought back from two goals down at Gresty Road.
The defender claimed his first goal for the Cheshire side – who are now unbeaten in nine games and a point off the top six – after Max Ehmer and Luke McCormick cancelled out first-half efforts from Charlie Kirk and Ryan Wintle.
Kirk made the most of a quick corner routine, taking Tommy Lowery’s clever pass to net inside four minutes. The Railwaymen doubled their lead midway through the first half when Kirk turned provider and pulled the ball back for Oli Finney to relay on for Wintle to drive in from 18 yards.
For Rovers, Brandon Hanlon had a clear sight of goal before Crewe’s second, but the frontman delayed getting his shot off, allowing Luke Offord to step across and close him down.
Joe Day ensured Paul Tisdale’s side did not fall further behind by pushing out a close-range strike from Owen Dale, who had another great opportunity only for Cian Harries to divert the attacker’s effort round a post.
Yet Crewe’s lead vanished in the space of four minutes after the restart. First Ehmer tapped in at the far post in the 46th minute after Luke Leahy headed a corner across the face of goal.
Five minutes later McCormick drove a stunning free-kick from just outside the box into the top corner.
Yet another set-piece then conjured up another fine finish, with centre-half Lancashire diving in at the back stick to head in Lowery’s lofted free-kick, restoring Crewe’s lead.
Rovers substitute Jonah Ayunga went close with a later header and Dale should have eased Crewe’s passage but headed a great opening past a post.
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