Mansfield Town were held to a 1-1 draw as a goal in either half saw them share the points with Crewe at One Call Stadium.
Midfielder George Maris put the Stags ahead shortly before the interval and was later harshly sent off after being adjudged to have denied a goalscoring opportunity.
Before that, Crewe right-back Kelvin Mellor hammered home a long-range thunderbolt to level for Crewe.
New full-back Callum Johnson was handed a start after signing on Friday from Ross County for an undisclosed fee. Jordan Bowery and Kieran Wallace were also in the lineup.
Kellan Gordon and Will Swan made way while Oli Hawkins completed a permanent transfer to Gillingham earlier in the week.
New recruit Alfie Kilgour – the centre-half from Bristol Rovers – began on the bench.
Stags sent an early warning to Crewe inside the second minute when Stephen McLaughlin delivered a dangerous ball to the edge of the goal area, but the visitors cleared behind for a corner.
The Alex carved out their first opening three minutes later.
Daniel Agyei got the better of James Perch to storm into the box and square for Tariq Uwakwe to stab wide, under pressure from Johnson, eight yards out.
Stags were soon back up the other end as Oates raced clear of the Crewe defence, latching onto a wonderfully-weighted high ball from Hiram Boateng. Though Alex shot-stopper David Richards rushed out to narrow the angle and Oates lobbed both him and the bar from the edge of the box.
With quarter-of-an-hour played, Jordan Bowery came close as he deftly nodded wide from McLaughlin’s left-wing cross.
Stags created once of their best chances of the half with a lovely free flowing move after 23 minutes.
Bowery slipped to the overlapping Johnson on the right, whose superb low ball into the box was narrowly missed by the advancing Oates.
Boateng was next to have a crack at goal with a sizzling 20-yard drive which arrowed over the angle.
Stags’ goalkeeper Christy Pym was forced into making his first save on 38 minutes.
The Peterborough loanee got down quickly to his right to push behind Lachlan Brook’s left-footed strike after the midfielder peeled off his marker inside the box.
Oates was then presented with a surprise chance when Connor Thomas played a loose pass back to goal. But the Mansfield frontman was unable to get enough power behind his 25-yard shot and Richards gathered.
The Crewe goalkeeper could do little about the next shot at goal as Stags deservedly took the lead after 42 minutes.
Johnson delivered with pinpoint accuracy into the goal area, and George Maris got beyond his man to stab home and send the Stags’ fans into raptures.
Mansfield were gunning for a second soon after the restart and on 53 minutes, Oates agonisingly saw the ball float above his head following a fine right-flank cross from Boateng.
Crewe then levelled against the run of play two minutes later.
Boateng’s mis-placed pass fell nicely into the path of Kelvin Mellor, who launched a rocket into the back of Pym’s goal from 30 yards.
Oates tried to restore Stags’ advantage with a superb inviting ball into the box, but Alex got there first to divert behind for a corner.
And from the resulting flag-kick, Crewe had Richards to thank after he acrobatically managed to one-handedly turn away Johnson’s close-range effort
Moments later, Oates was in the referee’s notebook for trying to turn the ball into the visitors’ net with his hand following a right-sided cross.
Soon after Crewe had made a double change, Boateng curled over from outside the box midway through the second half.
Kieran Wallace, in possibly his best performance this season for Mansfield, was harshly shown a yellow card for a challenge on Bassala Sambou near the halfway line.
Richards again pulled off heroics in the Crewe goal on 72 minutes.
Boateng charged down the right flank before squaring for Quinn, who saw his shot saved by Richards’ trailing leg.
And in Stags’ next attack, Maris rifled one at goal from 18 yards which looked destined to nestle into the far corner, but for Mellor’s brilliant block.
On 76 minutes, Kieran Wallace was replaced by Will Swan in Stags’ first change.
Five minutes later, Stags were reduced to ten men when Maris was questionably deemed to be the last man as he brought down Elliott Nevitt in a Crewe counter attack.
Jason Law was introduced for Stephen Quinn on 83 minutes.
Crewe gained confidence with their numerical advantage and a minute later, Nevitt hit a low effort into the gloves of Pym when he might have done better.
Rhys Oates was then withdrawn for new signing Alfie Kilgour on 86 minutes as Stags switched to a 5-3-1 system.
In the dying seconds, McLaughlin tried his luck with a long-distance pot shot before Kilgour blasted wide in the last chance of the encounter.
STAGS: Pym, Johnson, Hewitt, Perch, McLaughlin, Wallace (Swan 76), Maris, Boateng, Quinn (Law 83), Bowery, Oates (Kilgour 86)
UNUSED SUBS: Flinders, Gordon, O'Toole, Knowles
CREWE: Richards, Mellor, Adebisi, McDonald, Thomas, Agyei, Griffiths, O’Riordan, Brook (Ainley 66), Nevitt, Uwakwe (Sambou) 66
UNUSED SUBS: Booth, Tabiner, Evans, Holicek, Lunt
REFEREE: Carl Boyeson
ATTENDANCE: 6,142 (318 Stags’ fans)