Super-sub Wilkinson lifts Latics
Crewe slipped back into the bottom four after substitute Conor Wilkinson struck late on to earn Oldham a 1-0 win at Gresty Road.
Dean Holden's men ended a run of three consecutive defeats and pulled themselves clear of trouble after Wilkinson's goal settled a scrappy game.
Rhys Turner's mazy run left Crewe defenders back-tracking early on, but the forward was denied by an agile save by Crewe's former Oldham goalkeeper Paul Rachubka.
Crewe's response almost brought an inventive goal for Nicky Ajose. The on-loan Leeds striker slipped in behind the Latics' rearguard on to Greg Leigh's long pass and clipped the ball over goalkeeper Joel Coleman, but on to the roof of the net.
Oldham were grateful for skipper Adam Lockwood's positioning, which enabled him to head Jon Guthrie's header off the goalline after James Ness had swung in a free-kick from the left.
As both sides struggled to make a breakthrough in the second half, Anthony Grant's fierce half-volley was tipped over by Coleman.
Then Ness was inches away from applying a final touch at the near post and James Jones forced Coleman to save his shot from 25 yards low down as Crewe applied the pressure.
But Crewe were hit by a sucker-punch when substitute Wilkinson drove low into the corner after being set up by Danny Philliskirk in the 74th minute.