Crewe 0 Sheffield United 1
By Andy Clarke. Last Updated: January 1, 1970 1:00am
Nick Montgomery grabbed the winner five minutes from time as 10-man Sheffield United ended their run of four consecutive league defeats with victory over Crewe.
The young midfielder headed into an empty net after Ashley Ward's close range shot had been blocked on the edge of the six yard box.
It gave United a most unlikely victory after they were forced to play for more than an hour with only 10 men after Mike Whitlow had been sent off for a professional foul on Craig Hignett.
The visitors then rode their luck when Dean Ashton blazed over the bar from the penalty spot after Steve Jones had been sent tumbling in the area by Carl Robinson.
Yet in spite of their numerical disadvantage, Neil Warnock's men deserved their victory after they created the bulk of the chances.
Warnock had responded to his side's dismal recent run by leaving four experienced attacking players on the bench, handing a full debut to 17-year-old academy product Jonathan Forte.
The young striker tormented the Crewe defence with his pace and power and three times he forced home keeper Clayton Ince to make uncomfortable saves.
Twice United struck the post in the first half, first Ward headed against the upright from Michael Tonge's corner, then Montgomery's shot was deflected onto the woodwork after Forte's low shot had been pushed away by Ince.
Ince also saved from Andy Parkinson, restored to the side after an impressive loan spell at Notts County, while Ward had a header cleared off the line by David Vaughan.
Michael Tonge's fierce shot was then pushed away by Ince, before Montgomery struck to settle the game, although David Wright could have salvaged a draw for Crewe when he headed wide from 10 yards deep into stoppage time.