A double blast from striker Steve Jones snatched a win for Crewe at Colchester to lift them into second spot in Nationwide Division Two.
By contrast, lowly Colchester have now failed to win at Layer Road since they beat Chesterfield 2-0 in mid-October.
It was looking good for the home side when Mick Stockwell swept them into a 41st minute lead but they could not hang on as promotion-chasing Crewe stepped up a gear in the second half.
Jones struck in the 56th and 62nd minutes to elevate Crewe into one of the two automatic promotion slots and they have only lost twice on their travels.
United took the lead when Joe Keith ran at the Crewe defence and found Kem Izzet, who clipped the ball over the Alex defence for Stockwell to run onto.
Former Ipswich veteran Stockwell beat the offside trap before rounding keeper Clayton Ince and sweeping the ball into the net from a narrow angle. It was his second goal of the season.
Colchester lived dangerously in the first half.
Defender Steve Foster struck the bar with a stunning volley while keeper Simon Brown made terrific saves to deny leading scorer Rob Hulse.
Brown did not have so many saves to make in the second half, but he was beaten twice by Jones, a speedy front runner who was recruited from Leigh RMI during the summer of 2001.
The leveller from Jones was a terrific curling effort from the edge of the box, and five minutes later he benefited from an error by young defender Pat Baldwin to run through and slot home what proved to be the winner.
However, the U's did have a great chance to poach an equaliser when Keith was felled in the box by Crewe defender Paul Tierney.
Referee Keith Hill pointed to the spot, but keeper Ince managed to block Keith's penalty.
Left wing-back Keith had been a hero the previous weekend when netting the equaliser from the spot against Tranmere, but he could not repeat the feat against Crewe.
Visiting manager Dario Gradi said: "We managed to grind out a result. Both teams were cancelling each other out but Steve Jones took his goals well."