Two goals either side of half time handed Wigan Athletic all three points at Mornflake Stadium on Tuesday.
Josh Magennis broke the deadline just before the interval and Will Keane made it 2-0 just after the restart, and that’s the way it stayed.
Crewe huffed and puffed but could not find a way back into the game and stay rooted to the bottom of League One.
Manager David Artell made one change to his side, giving Bass Sambou a start and dropping Regan Griffiths to the bench. Both keepers had work to do early on. First Dave Richards dived to his right to parry a Tendayi Darikwa drive to safety, before Ben Amos stretched into the top corner to paw away a Callum Ainley effort from outside the box.
The game was hotly contested in the middle of the pitch with neither side able to fashion a clear cut chance, but Wigan enjoyed more possession. Just after the half hour mark Keane headed over from a free-kick, and Richards did well to hold a Joe Bennett dead ball at his near post not long after.
At the other end, Josh Lundstram almost got on the end of a Travis Johnson cross but the ball was smuggled for a corner by Jack Whatmough. From the resultant flag kick, Luke Offord nodded over the bar.
But on 44 minutes a Max Power free kick was accurate and Magennis rose highest to head into the back of the net. The striker looked offside but the goal was allowed to stand.
On 53 minutes it was 2-0. Bennett was allowed room to cross from the Wigan left and Keane rose highest in the six-yard-box to bury his header beyond Richards.
Artell made a double substitution, sending on Luke Murphy and Griffiths in a bid to get more control of the game but it was tough going throughout.
Darikwa saw a low strike deflected wide for a corner while at the other end there were appeals for handball when a Griffiths strike was blocked, but referee Ben Toner showed no interest.
As the clock ticked down a nice Crewe move freed Callum Ainley down the left but his cross wasn’t attacked with conviction and the visitors cleared. Two brave blocks from Connor O’Riordan prevented the Latics from extending their advantage as they pressed in the final five minutes.