Kane Ferdinand scored Southend Utd’s first goal at Crewe on Saturday to help the Shrimpers go back to the summit of League One.
Having been knocked off top spot earlier in the afternoon by Crawley’s win at Northampton, Paul Sturrock’s men needed all three points.
And they got them from a youthful Crewe Alexandra outfit.
After an even first half an hour, in which Alex’s Nick Powell had hit a post, Southend gradually started to impose themselves on a Crewe line-up with an average age of just 21.
Ferdinand opened the scoring on 37 minutes from close range after Michael Timlin’s shot was parried by Steve Phillips in the home-sides goal.
Crewe came back in to the game in the second period and AJ Leitch-Smith twice went close before Harry Davis’ 75th minute equaliser. And with Crewe looking the more likely to find a winner it seemed the form book was to be turned upside down.
But on 88 minutes substitute Bilel Mohsni restored Southend’s lead with a header from Ryan Hall’s cross. And he wrapped up the win four minutes later with a neat finish after good work by Hall and Neil Harris.