The young Bluebirds scored two goals in two minutes to take control of their opening Under-18 Professional Development League home fixture of the season – and then tossed hopes of victory away.
City took the lead after 74 minutes when Kieron Evans tapped home a cross at the far post and Ntazana Mayembe doubled their lead less than two minutes later.
At that stage Cardiff were good value for their lead, but they switched off and Crewe fought back to snatch a draw they scarcely deserved, scoring twice in the last five minutes including an equaliser from the last move of the match.
On a sunny afternoon at Cardiff International Sports Campus, City dominated the first half and should have been ahead at the break.
Mayembe’s low cross into the area was turned goalwards by Kieron Evans after seven minutes, but his effort was saved by ‘keeper Andrew Walklate.
An Isaak Davies’ shot just before the half hour was saved by Walklate following a period of intense pressure from the Bluebirds, while the same City player shot from an acute angle and the ball flew and across the face of goal and just wide.
Harry Pinchard, who has been with the Bluebirds academy for a decade, was outstanding in central midfield, a left-footed player who is a combative and dynamic competitor who has a silky passing style.
Australian Jamie Cogman was City’s starting goalkeeper, while Taylor Jones impressed during a first 80 minutes in which Cardiff were on top.
The hosts were also keen to utilise their pace going forward with several early through balls finding Mayembe.
Cogman did well to get on the end of several dangerous crosses and stop a variety of shots from the Railwaymen.
When the final whistle blew the Bluebirds were desperately disappointed to have missed out on a win after taking a 2-0 lead with 15 minutes left.
Their next fixture is a friendly against Cardiff Met FC at Cardiff Met FC on Wednesday, August 21 (2pm).
Cardiff City u-18: Jamie Cogman, Taylor Jones, Sam Parsons, Joel Bagan, Harry Pinchard, Tom Chiabi, Ntazana Mayembe, Rubin Colwill, Isaak Davies, Ryan Kavanagh, Kieron Evans. Subs: Owen Pritchard, Brad Stewart (gk), Clay, Thomas, Rhys Schwank.
Crewe Alexandra: Walklate, Allen, Woodthorpe, Hartsthorn, Southern, Green, Levey, Robbins, Lokko, Onyeka, Stubbs. Subs: Marrow, LeGrand Akpo, McDonald, Mursden, Lomas.