Paul Cook praised his new side’s effort and determination – but it’s goals that are on the list of priorities at the moment.
It’s five hours since the Reds last found the back of the net – going back to the pre-Cook era – and three defeats on the bounce have pushed Stanley to seven points off the play-off places.
After the disappointing loss to Plymouth in his first game in charge on Saturday, Cook was looking for an improved show against their fellow top-seven hopefuls at Gresty Road.
He got that on Tuesday – but that first victory proved elusive as two late goals left the Reds with one win in their last six games, dating back to John Coleman’s final two matches.
Cook, who turned 45 on Wednesday, is desperate to get off the mark and admitted: "I am disappointed. We played well at times on Tuesday and we got everything out of the game that we wanted to, except the win.
"I felt we had some great opportunities. Jamie Devitt put some great balls into the box, he has some fantastic quality, and we have got to go into the box with more belief that we will score a goal.
"Football’s a funny game. When you get a goal against, it affects the players’ confidence and you could see their shoulders go down the minute Crewe scored. We have got to get the belief back."
Cook is looking to put his own stamp on his team with the introduction of the loan recruit, Hull winger Devitt, part of that.
He also used the 4-4-2 system – Stanley fans had got used to the 4-2-3-1 set-up under Coleman in the last couple of years.
Winger Devitt was certainly lively and the Reds’ main threat in the first half but chances were at a premium for both sides.
After last year’s disallowed ‘goal’ from Sean McConville – when the ref ruled it hadn’t crossed the line when it appeared to have done in a goalless draw – it was the home fans’ turn to be aggrieved.
They were incensed at a Charlie Barnett tackle; frustrated when they appealed for a Toto¿Nsiala handball in the area in vain and apoplectic that their striker Nick Powell was booked for diving when he raced through and was tackled by Kevin McIntyre.
The Reds did get away with a few things but so did Crewe as a Devitt cross wasn’t far off the top corner just after the re-start; the Reds appealed for their own spot kick for handball and sub Bryan Hughes came close with a turn and chip.
There were some nice passing moves by both sides but also some wayward shooting and, going into the last 10 minutes, it did look like it would peter out into another goalless draw – and what would have been a decent result for Stanley and for Cook to get his first point on the board.
Instead, with nine minutes to go, an Ashley¿Westwood corner was only half-cleared to Crewe’s highly-rated young sub Max Clayton who rifled the ball into the back of the net.
If that was shock enough, Powell found space on the left and found Luke Murphy who fired home the second in injury-time to give the scoreline a flattering look for the Railwaymen.
Hughes forced an acrobatic save out of Crewe keeper Steve Phillips at the death but, like Saturday, the damage had been done.
While the scoreline was harsh on the Reds, there is no getting away from the fact it is a rocky spell – scoring in just one of their last six games – and it is down to new boss Cook to put it right as he tackles his third match in charge at leaders Swindon tomorrow.
"When you take a new job the anxiety will spread with each game when you are not winning," said Cook. "But from Saturday to Tuesday we improved a hell of a lot.
"We weren’t resilient on Saturday. We were very disjointed and easy to get at against Plymouth while at Crewe we weren’t but we conceded at poor times.
"The lads showed a great appetite for the game, we had some lads who played really well and that pleased me.
"But Crewe are a good side, they move the ball well and they impressed me.
"We had effort in abundance but we lacked a bit of quality at times. And, when you are not scoring goals and you are leaking a goal, you have to ask yourselves questions.
"They are a young bunch here, some of them are coming back from injuries and such like and we will keep working hard.
"We had some great performances and I am just disappointed about the result but we have to push on now. Football’s about winning and we want a win."