AN early opener and a last-gasp winner from hitman Andrew Ash-worth fired Crewe Vagrants to a good win at Bebington.
Under-strength Crewe, who were missing several key players, emerged victorious from a scrappy encounter in which the clinical Ashworth proved the difference.
The home side had the best of the opening encounters, forcing good defensive work from Nick Marshall and Richard Slater and a diving save from keeper Ravi Kaler.
But Crewe took the lead against the run of play in the seventh minute when Ashworth took a pass from the left to touch home.
Bebington responded with a flurry of attacks and went close but could not find the net. Steve Bourne and James Capper rallied Crewe, but they took a slender lead into the break.
A shaky start to the second half was stabilised with neat stick work from Henry Weir, but Crewe always looked vulnerable.
They were punished when a well-worked short-corner was fired home by Bebington.
Crewe came under severe pressure as the home side scented victory, and Kaler was called into action regularly. But the visitors persevered.
In the fifth minute of injury time Ashworth pounced to steal the points after Capper's shot was saved. nThe seconds did not have a game, but Crewe thirds recorded their third win of the season with a 5-3 success over Bebington thirds.
A first-half hat-trick from Paul Owen should have made it a cruise, but Vagrants were pegged back to 3-3. Goals through Rob Jepson and Chris Powell eventually sealed the win, but a vagrants spokesman said: 'We made hard work of it.' nShot-shy Crewe fourths dominated possession and territory in their game with Deeside Ramblers sixths at the Vagrants Sports Ground on Saturday. But woeful finishing cost them dear and they ended with a 2-0 defeat. nCrewe Vagrants ladies smashed four past strugglers Prescot. One apiece for Tracey Brookfield, Bev Jackson, Dionne Johnson and Shez Tomkinson sealed a 4-2 win.
Brookfield opened the scoring with a cooly taken penalty flick, and a super through-ball from Gilly Blythe set up Jackson for the second.
Johnson made it 3-0 before the break, but Prescot hit back with a short-corner routine to gain fresh hope. Tomkinson's neat finish made the game safe, although Prescot scored another short-corner.
A spokesman said: 'Although this wasn't vintage Crewe we were by far the best team. We dominated play and took the game by the scruff of the neck.'