Southend boss Paul Sturrock felt his side deserved a point at Gresty Road but conceded his depleted squad were struggling to maintain their impressive recent form as they went down 1-0.
In a tight match, the game`s only goal went Crewe`s way in the second half as Shaun Miller hooked home his 16th of the season.
Sturrock said: "I was very disappointed to lose and felt we did enough to get something out of the game.
"We showed we can compete at this level but I thought the first goal was always going to be the winner.
"The people we have got missing and the body count we have at the moment is a key feature for us. Some players are finding their feet in the game too and we are really lacking in senior pros.
"Some people got a bit overexcited because we did really well for a wee while but we are a long chalk from being the finished article."