The Railwaymen get up and running on the opening day.
Goals from Dan Agyei and Lachlan Brook earn three points
Defence stood strong as Rochdale pressed in second half
Alex eighth in League Two after opening day success
Crewe Alexandra made an ideal start to 2022-23 with a 2-1 victory at Rochdale.
First-half goals from Dan Agyei and Lachlan Brook put Alex Morris’s men in charge, but Devante Rodney pulled one back with 20 minutes left to set up a tense finish.
However, The Railwaymen held on for all three points in a first victory on the road for the new management team.
They will take plenty of positives from the display which showed attacking quality in the first half, and resilience in the second.
The gaffer handed full debuts to four new signings in Arthur Okonkwo, Rodney McDonald, Connor Thomas, and Brook, as well as starting Kelvin Mellor for his second Alex bow.
They set up in a 4-3-3 formation and, after a scrappy opening spell to the game, made the breakthrough on 14 minutes.
Callum Ainley floated in a pinpoint free-kick from the right and Agyei rose unmarked to guide a header into the top corner past a motionless Richard O’Donnell.
And it was 2-0 on 22 minutes when Bassala Sambou and Ainley combined nicely on the edge of the box to free Brook, who used the overlap of Kelvin Mellor as a decoy and took a touch inside before drilling home from 20 yards.
It should have three just before the half-hour mark, but Brook could only guide a close-range effort wide after he arrived on the end of a Williams cross from the left.
James Ball twice threatened to get one back for the hosts but was off-target on both occasions, and The Railwaymen protected their clean sheet into the interval.
Rochdale started the second half strongly and Liam Kelly should have done better when he got behind the Alex defence only to fizz the ball across the face of goal.
They halved the deficit on 69 minutes when Rodney was allowed to surge down the middle and blast past Okonkwo from just inside the box.
Okonkwo palmed away a Ball effort as the hosts continued to dominate possession, and first appearances for Crewe were made off the bench by Courtney Baker-Richardson and Khanya Leshabela as the clock ticked down.
Rochdale sub Luke Charman flicked a header just over from a corner as the game entered four minutes of added time.
But Crewe held on to take all three points on the opening day for just the third time in 15 years.
Crewe (4-3-3): Okonkwo; Mellor, Offord, McDonald, Williams; Thomas, Uwakwe, Ainley (Leshabela 82); Brook (Baker-Richardson 70), Sambou (O Finney 72), Agyei.
Subs not used: Booth, Sass-Davies, Colkett.
Booked: Williams, Offord.
Rochdale (3-5-2): O’Donnell; Graham (Sinclair 73), Ebanks-Landell, John; Seriki, Diagouraga, Kelly (Brierley 73), Ball (Charman 85), Odoh; Rodney (Nelsom 73), Henderson..
Booked: Ebanks-Landell, Odoh
Subs not used: Slicker, White, Taylor.
Referee: Andrew Kitchen.
Attendance: 3,648 (872).