CREWE notched their first win of the season as their goal-scoring double act came good to put paid to Wrexham's Carling Cup ambitions at Gresty Road last night, writes William Hughes.
Second-half goals from strikers Dean Ashton and Steve Jones booked the Alex's place in round two and gave Crewe the possibility of a money-spinning tie next month.
Alex boss Dario Gradi said: 'I was particularly pleased for Steve Jones. He had a bad first half-hour but kept at it, picked himself up and scored a super goal. He turned a poor performance into a good one and for me that was one of the real highlights of the game.'
'I thought we were relentless and stuck at it while they wobbled. We started as favourites and in the end we edged out worthy opponents.'
Gradi made one change to the team beaten at Wimbledon on Saturday with Ashton proving his fitness in time to replace James Robinson in attack.
Crewe made a bright start with Ashton finding space in the area.
He tumbled under a challenge from Brian Carey but referee Trevor Parkes showed no interest in awarding a penalty.
But the official did take firm action in the sixth minute when Justin Cochrane brought down one-time Alex loanee Lee Jones and received the game's first yellow card.
Darren Ferguson, being watched by his father and Manchester United boss Alex, then took out immediate retribution against Cochrane and was also cautioned.
Both teams struggled to take control in a stop-start opening quarter littered with fouls.
Wrexham's first real effort on goal came in the 27th minute when Ferguson's corner was headed over by Carey.
Soon afterwards, another Ferguson flag kick found defender Dennis Lawrence unmarked but the 6ft 7in Trinidad and Tobago star failed to trouble his international teammate Clayton Ince with a poor effort.
Crewe's first shot on target came from captain Dave Brammer four minutes before the interval after good approach play by Lunt and then Rix. The ex-Wrexham man hit an angled volley but it failed to trouble Andy Dibble in the Robins' goal.
Rix came closer in first-half injury time, sending a shot just wide after David Wright's long throw had been flicked on by Adie Moses.
Wrexham missed a fine chance to open the scoring four minutes after the restart when sub Hector Sam knocked the ball into the path of Steve Thomas. But, despite enjoying time and space, the midfield man fired over the bar. the game finally got the goal it needed in the 53rd minute and it was the Alex who made the breakthrough.
David Vaughan found Rix just inside the area and when Ferguson caught his leg, referee Parkes had no hesitation in pointing for a penalty. Ashton took on the responsibility and duly dispatched the kick as he sent Dibble the wrong way.
The goal proved a much-needed tonic for the home side and Steve Jones again brought Dibble into the action after a thrusting run from just inside the visitor's half.
Wrexham squandered an excellent opportunity to draw level when Sam latched on to Ferguson's through ball but he thrashed at his shot which went over with the goal gaping.
In the 71st minute, Carlos Edwards sent in a low cross from the right which just eluded Sam and his strike partner Chris Llewellyn.
Gradi made a change 10 minutes from time with Chris McCready replacing Ashton, a switch which allowed Vaughan to push forward down the left.
Crewe had to survive a succession of late Wrexham corners but clinched their place in the next round with a fine breakaway goal two minutes from time.
Steve Jones led the counter and after reaching the Wrexham penalty area, spotted Dibble off his line and executed a sublime chip to put the game out of the visitor's reach.
A miserable night for Wrexham was completed when Carey received a straight red for a professional foul on Steve Jones as the striker bore down on goal.
CREWE: Ince, Wright, Foster, Moses, Vaughan, Lunt, Brammer, Cochrane, Rix, Jones, Ashton (McCready, 80). Subs: Bankole, Varney, Robinson, Bell.
WREXHAM: Dibble, Pejic, Carey, Lawrence, C Edwards, Thomas (Crowell, 87), Ferguson, P Edwards, Whitley, Llewellyn, Jones (Sam, 45). Subs: Whitfield, Holmes, Morgan.
Referee: Trevor Parkes (Wolverhampton).