Newport boss Mike Flynn felt his players may have been "too weary" to seize the initiative in the Sky Bet League Two clash against 10-man Crewe.
The Exiles laboured to make the most of their man advantage after Alex defender Perry Ng was dismissed in the 17th minute after picking up two yellow cards in quick succession.
Flynn revealed several of his players were suffering the after effects of their midweek Caraboa Cup win at Southend and he admitted he failed to make the most of his substitutions.
In fact, Crewe levelled a minute after Ng's red card when Chris Dagnall turned in George Cooper's cross (18) to cancel out Frank Nouble's close-range opener (13).
Flynn's first game in charge of Newport last March saw his side win 2-1 at Crewe to spark a successful battle against relegation.
This time though they had to settle for a point and while substitute Lamar Reynolds went closest when his late header was scrambled off the line, spirited Crewe also had chances to win the game, going close through Dagnall and Cooper.
Flynn said: "There were a lot of players struggling out there and a couple of them were not on their game. We're not that far away and we played some really good stuff and opened them, but we didn't have that killer instinct inside the box.
"Crewe played in midweek a day later (than us) and they had 10 men so fair play to them - but we had a few struggling today, not just from tiredness but it was whether they could play at all.
"It's hard but they stayed on and put a shift in. I possibly got my substitutions wrong, so I won't blame it all on the players, I'll take a little bit of the blame.
"We're unbeaten in three away games, so it is not all doom and gloom."
Inexperienced defender Ng's reckless lung on Ben White appeared to have left Crewe in a fix, but boss Dave Artell praised his side's attacking approach which was led by the flamboyant style of man of the match Cooper.
"There were some physical challenges and mental challenges thrown at us by the referee, but I thought the lads came through it with flying colours," said Artell. "We tried to play football throughout the game and we certainly weren't shutting up shop.
"But I am happy with the point as we played the majority of the game with 10 men.
"Perry let himself down and he let the lads down and you can't condone it as he has given the referee the opportunity to send him off. But the fact the referee didn't give a foul for what was an absolute "leg breaker" on the far side is just criminal."