Steve Davis heaped praise on Bradden Inman after the striker came off the bench to score and give Crewe a 2-1 victory at Crawley.
Relegation-threatened Alex had gone in front when the on-loan Uche Ikpeazu fired home from close range in the 18th minute.
Crawley, now beaten in their last five games, improved after the break and substitute Jamie Proctor pulled them level with a tremendous 25-yard drive after 69 minutes which flew into the top corner of the net.
But Inman, left out of Crewe's previous 2-1 home defeat to Coventry, had the final say by steering the ball home 10 minutes from time following a lovely pass by Bryon Moore.
Davis felt Inman had responded to being dropped in the best possible style.
He said: "Brad is the kind of player who can make an impact. Leaving him out of the side hurt him but there he was for the winner getting behind the defender.
"He has got great pace and we know the kind of things he is capable of. On his day he is unplayable.
"The ball from Byron Moore was a great one and Brad was on it like a flash. It was a great finish."
Crewe remain in the relegation zone on goal difference after their rivals also picked up points, but Davis believes his men have boosted their bid to avoid relegation after recording their second successive away win.
Alex also played well in beating Gillingham 3-1 on their travels, and Davis said: "That's back-to-back away wins and something we needed.
"There are a lot of teams scrambling for points at the bottom and hopefully in five games' time we will still be in League One because that's where he want to be."
It does not get any easier for Crewe with a home game against leaders Wolves looming, but Davis is relishing the challenge.
He added: "We certainly will be looking forward to it, and are well aware that Wolves could not break down Stevenage recently.
"I know that our lads can beat anyone on their day and generally this is the case in this league."