Charlie Kirk headed Crewe into the Emirates FA Cup second round as the League One side ended a run of three defeats to beat League Two hosts Bolton 3-2 at the University of Bolton Stadium.
Kirk’s 75th-minute goal came five minutes after Oliver Finney had restored Alex’s lead in an entertaining tie.
It proved a vital goal as striker Nathan Delfouneso’s second of the match kept Wanderers in with a chance of forcing extra time.
But as they had done in the Football League Trophy back in September, Dave Artell’s team finished on top.
Mikael Mandron netted twice in that previous meeting and he fired Alex into a deserved 29th-minute lead after interchanging passes with Ryan Wintle.
Bolton hadn’t managed a worthwhile effort when Delfouneso curled in a left-foot shot from 15 yards to level eight minutes before half-time.
Finney smashed a close range left-foot shot past Billy Crellin to make it 2-1 before Kirk’s angled header ensured Delfouneso’s fifth goal of the campaign after 78 minutes was only a consolation.