Crewe 1 West Brom 2
By Patrick Goss
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Dean Ashton had put Crewe ahead on 63 minutes but quick-fire goals from Andy Johnson and substitute Lee Hughes handed The Baggies a priceless three points.
Baggies striker Geoff Horsfield enjoyed a running battle with Clayton Ince as the Crewe goalkeeper repelled his opponent on a string of occasions.
Horsfield had an early chance deflected over while Steve Jones' theatrical tumble in the penalty area failed to convince referee Mike Thorpe to award a spot kick.
The first half was nip-and-tuck as Ashton's drive across the face of goal was pushed around the post while Jones lacked conviction in attempting to guide Craig Hignett's incisive through ball past the onrushing Russell Hoult.
In the early stages of the second half, Horsfield's duel with Ince was a recurring theme as he was denied three times by the home keeper.
When Johnson's well-struck shot was saved, Ince reacted quickly to block Horsfield's rebound and from a tight angle, the Baggies forward's effort was pushed wide.
Ince's legs then denied Horsfield before Crewe scored against the run of play on 63 minutes when Justin Cochrane's pass picked out Ashton to lash the ball beyond Hoult.
West Brom responded in the style of a team hellbent on securing a swift return to The Premiership after scoring twice in the space of four minutes.
From substitute Lloyd Dyer's pass across the penalty area, the unmarked Johnson neatly steered a volley into the corner of the net.
On 73 minutes, Dyer's throw in was controlled by Horsfield, who lofted the ball over his head for another substitute - Hughes - to dart in and divert the ball past Ince.
Jones had an excellent chance to earn an equaliser for the hosts but his shot drifted beyond the far post as West Brom moved level at the top of the table.