Shaun Miller struck late on to clinch victory as Crewe sent struggling 10-man Gillingham further into the mire with a 3-1 win at Priestfield.
Both sides were looking to bounce back after FA Cup shocks and it was the visitors who deservedly took the points with an assured display.
Crewe made all the early running, Luke Murphy smacking the crossbar with a looping effort.
Things got worse for Gillingham after 26 minutes when debutant Callum Davies saw red after hauling down Clayton Donaldson, Lee Bell rattling the bar with the resulting free kick.
The Railwaymen finally took the lead 10 minutes before the break, Byron Moore sending Murphy's cross squirming past Alan Julian.
And in first-half stoppage time Donaldson doubled the lead, taking Moore's cross and drilling home from six yards.
The Gills gave themselves a lifeline seconds after the break, Chris Whelpdale thumping home a header from Chris Palmer's corner.
Both Adebayo Akinfenwa and Kevin Maher then went close as the hosts pressed, only for Miller to secure the points when he broke away to slot home.
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