HOCKEY: WEARY Crewe crumbled after taking an early lead against high-flying hosts Bolton.
Vagrants gave themselves the perfect chance to spring a surprise against second-placed Bolton, when Dave Holland's pass found Tim Alexander who rounded the keeper to make it 1-0 on nine minutes.
Bolton replied by knocking the ball around well and putting Vagrants under pressure, but failed to convert a short-corner. Gary Roberts and Neil Darling were causing problems, while Nick Marshall's excellent long ball just beat Andrew Ash-worth for pace.
On 25 minutes Crewe were within a whisker of shocking Bolton again. Roberts slipped the ball through for Darling who cracked a shot which smacked the post and came out again.
The Vagrants deservedly held their lead to the break, and doubled it within four minutes of the re-start. Jon Woodhart hammered home from Ashworth's pass.
Ravi Kaler made a couple of fine stops to thwart Bolton, but the advantage was halved after a neat corner. Before Crewe could recover, an opportunist strike made it 2-2.
As legs began to tire and belief seeped away from the Vagrants, Bolton took advantage. A fine finish after a fast break made it 3-2, and although Marshall and Kaler fought valiantly it became 4-2 before the end. nA fine brace from Crewe Vagrants seconds' top scorer Graham Cooke helped them to a 4-1 win over Bolton.
The vital victory hauled the side level on points with the visitors in the relegation dogfight. Rob Jepson set up Steve Bourne who provided an early lead, and Andrew Ticehurst added a second before the break.
Bolton cut into the lead after the restart, but Cooke fired Crewe back into a two-goal advantage. The hitman added his second in the dying seconds, collecting Ticehurst's pass and making no mistake. nA double from Paul Owen was not enough to prevent Crewe thirds going down 3-2 at Triton firsts. nCrewe Vagrants Ladies first team came from two goals down to earn a draw for the second week.
Visitors Kirkby Steven were on their mettle early on, and built up a two-goal advantage. Vagrants keeper Hayley Agnew superbly saved a penalty flick to keep her side in the game.
Goals from Kim Jones and Lisa Bebbington either side of half time earned the valuable point. nCrewe Ladies thirds were hammered 6-0 at Macclesfield.