Hard work gains vital point ...Carlisle took a share of the spoils back home from an action packed encounter at Gresty Road and both sides will feel they did enough as chances came and went at both ends.
An early break from United's kick off had to be watched as Crewe came forward in numbers, but Gillesphey did well to stretch to put the floated cross behind for a corner.
The Alex stayed forward and a foul by Shaun Miller on Kiwomya gave Cooper the chance to fizz a free kick from wide into the mix. Kirk got there but it hit his thigh and dropped harmlessly behind.
United responded with a lovely move when Adams flicked a neat pass into Wyke's path. He fed it to Shaun Miller and the striker was unlucky as he dropped a shoulder and stepped inside. His shot was on target but a defender's boot took the sting out of it.
Carlisle went close again when Joyce lifted a lovely cross to the back post. Raynes nodded it back into the six-yard box and Kennedy almost caught the keeper on his heels with a cheeky overhead kick. Garratt stayed big and got to it just in time to prevent it from dropping over the line.
A quickly taken corner routine followed and an Adams inswinger had to be hooked off the line as it threatened to go in, with Wyke also in close attendance.
Crewe bided their time and sat deep but they responded on the counter when Bingham burst forward from midfield. He went for a long range shot but Gillespie was well placed to beat it away.
More good home pressure gave Cooper room to get into a dangerous area on the edge of the visiting box. A fierce drive curled past Gillespie but it skipped off the surface and whisked past the post.
Unbelievable defending from Brisley stopped Dagnall from getting on the end of a wicked Kirk delivery as Crewe tried to up the pace - the defender's timely header took it off the striker's toe with not a moment to lose. And Cooper should have done better when he was played clean through in what was a good home spell. He controlled it on his chest but drilled a wayward volley well wide of the target.
A grasscutting 30-yard Gillesphey free kick punctuated a quieter period but United grabbed the lead ten minutes before half time when they kept the ball alive from another excellent Adams corner. Wyke got his head in the way of one clearance, and the second was picked up by the alert Luke Joyce. His accurate pass took the back four out of it and Shaun Miller did the rest as he took it down on his toe and swept it into the bottom corner.
The lead was almost doubled moments later when Lambe picked Wyke out with another pinpoint delivery. The glanced header was heading for the roof of the net until Garratt tipped it over.
The Cumbrians stayed forward and more strong work out wide gave Adams space to send it in. Shaun Miller threw a boot at it and Kennedy shaved the bar with an instinctive shot on the spin.
Crewe levelled the scores on the stroke of half time when George Cooper stood over a 30-yard free kick. He struck it on the full and Gillespie could only watch in frustration as it flew past his outstretched hand.
It was a much slower start to the second half and a wild volley from Shaun Miller summed up the frustration felt by all concerned as it headed over the roof of the stand behind the goal.
Macaulay Gillesphey timed a sliding challenge well to prevent Dagnall from going through at the other end, and he was the man on the spot again when Bakayogo bent a cross on the run to the back post. His toe intervention was enough to stifle the moment.
Neat one touch play with Cooper put Bakayogo through again but his cross was too high for the attacking red shirts. Loose play from Lambe then gave Kirk a free hit but he put too much on it and it sailed over the target.
A goalmouth scramble followed a low free kick in the Carlisle box bang on the hour, with Gillesphey, Brisley and Raynes all making vital blocks. Lambe had a shot from a Miller pull back blocked at the other end, and Tom Miller did the same as Kirk wound his way across the back line.
Dagnall was next to have a close range shot cleared when he thought he'd done everything right, but a defender on the line stood between him and a certain goal following his near post cruncher.
Substitute Jamie Devitt tested Garratt with a 30-yard set piece as Carlisle dug deep to relieve the pressure and Gillesphey showed accuracy when he tried a volley as a clearance sat up nicely in front of him. Garratt watched it into his hands as it came through bodies.
Kiwomya sent a late shot wide when he got on the end of a Dagnall pass, and both Dagnall and Kirk were thwarted by bravery from Gillespie as he spread himself to make top drawer saves with minutes left on the clock.
Gillespie saved again in time added on - an excellent fingertip effort - and that was that as the whistle blew on a superb game.
Crewe - Cooper (45)
Carlisle United - S Miller (35)
Crewe - Guthrie (66)
Carlisle United - S Miller (35), Lambe (73), Raynes (89)
Crewe - Garratt, Turton, Guthrie, Davis, Jones, Dagnall, Cooper, Bakayogo, Bingham, Kirk, Kiwomya. Subs - Richards, Nugent, Hollands, Udoh, Ray, Ainley, Lowery.
Carlisle United - Gillespie, T Miller, Raynes, Brisley, Gillesphey, Lambe (Wright 77), Kennedy, Joyce, Adams, S Miller (Ibehre 77), Wyke (Devitt 64). Subs - Crocombe, Ellis, Asamoah, McQueen.
Referee - Mr Rob Lewis
Attendance - 4,962 (1,392)