Sunderland came from two goals down to draw 2-2 with a 97th-minute wondergoal from Chris Maguire’s to save the lads.
Crewe scored twice in and opening period that they dominated, with Chris Porter and Tom Lowery strikes. Sunderland did get a goal back in the second half through Jordan Jones and deep into injury time, Sunderland got an equaliser through Maguire with next to no time remaining.
Lee Johnson made one change to the line-up that won against Fleetwood as Josh Scowen replaced club captain Grant Leadbitter.
The arrival of Kyril Louis-Dreyfus had sparked fresh optimism and had sparked an upturn in form with the lads looking to make a charge up the table.
Five minutes into the match, and it was the hosts who had started the better; Crewe were looking threatening and causing problems early on.
Sunderland were really struggling to keep possession and were inviting Crewe to push forward on too many occasions.
The first effort of the game from a sloppy pass from Luke O’Nien who allowed the hosts to push forward and Charlie Kirk to get a shot on goal, and the winger forced Lee Burge into action for the first time.
Sunderland had their first effort on goal from a Lynden Gooch volley from range which was almost a stunner and needed saving from Dave Richards.
The lads were a mess at the back – Crewe should have been ahead as Kirk nipped in past Dion Sanderson and looped the ball over Burge, but Sanderson recovered to clear it off the line.
Half an hour in and Crewe deservedly took the lead, Mikael Mandron was slipped in and squared it to Chris Porter to tap it home from close range.
Sunderland hadn’t started yet, and the hosts were looking to kill the game. The lads looked so far off the pace and were all at sea.
Crewe made it two following some good work from Mandron who found Tom Lowery six yards out who fired home past Burge.
The hosts were in absolute cruise control, Sunderland had offered next to nothing and at the back were inept.
The lads almost got a goal back as Scowen had an effort from range deflected, and it looked goal bound but just evaded the post as Richards was rooted to the spot.
Going into the break, Sunderland were lucky to be only two down – Johnson had a big task on his hand to fire up his team and salvage something.
Sunderland had started the second half better, but that wasn’t difficult.
The lads finally created a chance as Aden McGeady released Charlie Wyke over the top, but the big man couldn’t keep his effort down as it flew over the bar.
Sunderland made four changes on the hour mark: Jack Diamond, Jordan Jones, Grant Leadbitter and Chris Maguire came on for Gooch, McGeady, Aiden O’Brien and McFadzean.
Crewe should have ended the game as Lowery almost had a second but was denied by a brilliant block from Sanderson.
Leadbitter was on for about a minute before going off injured as he was in a heap on the floor with oxygen was helped off the pitch by three people.
With 15 minutes to play, Jordan Jones scored a screamer to get Sunderland back in the game, he cut in from the left and arrowed an effort into the top corner from 25 yards out leaving Richards with no chance.
Sunderland could have easily made it 2-2, a beautiful whipped ball in from Maguire was glanced on by O’Nien, but it just whistled past the post.
It had taken 75 minutes, but Sunderland had woken up. Everything good was coming through Jones down the left.
90 minutes on the clock Maguire whipped in a carbon copy of his ball ten minutes prior and yet again, no one could apply the finish.
With the subs and injuries there were nine minutes of added time for Sunderland to get an equaliser.
7 minutes into injury time Sunderland turned the game around – a long ball up top was flicked on by Wyke to Maguire from range volleyed home with an outrageous strike.
Sunderland almost nicked it from a Maguire free kick as his ball in was met by Winchester, but he couldn’t keep it down.
Full Time: Crewe Alexandra 2-1 Sunderland
ALS Man of the Match: Jordan Jones
Sunderland: Burge; McLaughlin, O’Nien, Sanderson, McFadzean (Maguire 59’); Gooch (Diamond 59’), Power, Scowen, McGeady (Jones 59’); Wyke, O’Brien (Leadbitter 59’) (Winchester 66’).
Subs not used: Matthews & Vokins