- Elliott Nevitt hits the only goal of the evening
- Crewe beaten by Rovers for second time in five days
- The Railwaymen will not progress in Papa John’s Trophy
Crewe Alexandra will not progress beyond the group stage of the Papa John’s Trophy after being edged 1-0 by Tranmere Rovers.
Elliott Nevitt hit the winner on 71 minutes to earn all the Group B points for the visitors at Mornflake Stadium.
It means that The Railwaymen cannot go further in the competition after being defeated in their first two games.
Manager Alex Morris made four changes to the side that was beaten in League Two at Prenton Park on Friday, with brothers Oliver Finney and Charlie Finney brought into the starting line-up. Zac Williams and Dave Richards also came into the team.
Crewe operated in a 3-5-2 system, with Charlie Finney and Rio Adebisi at wing-back, and Courtney Baker-Richardson and Dan Agyei leading the attack.
Tranmere made 10 changes to their side, with defender Josh Dacres-Cogley the only survivor from the last encounter.
Dave Richards made a flying save from Arthur Lomax in the opening stages, but Crewe grew into the game and showed the most attacking intent in the first half an hour.
Rio Adebisi had a curling shot saved, while the visitors defended a number of forays into the penalty area well.
Superb defending at the far post by Williams denied Rovers what looked a sure opener on 36 minutes, while Sam Taylor fired into Richards’s midriff as the visitors finished the half strongly.
Sub Bassala Sambou got a clear sight of goal in the first seconds of the second half, but he couldn’t get his shot away.
Joel Tabiner whistled one wide from range, and on 55 minutes Agyei flashed a header wide from a Tabiner corner.
On the hour, Williams planted a header straight at the keeper after arriving on a Charlie Finney cross, as Crewe mounted waves of attacks.
The game started to open up in the final half-hour, and Richards had to race out of his goal to make a brave block from sub Nevitt as he raced through on goal.
But on 71 minutes Nevitt was not to be denied when he raced away from the Alex defence and drilled into the bottom corner.
Richards made an excellent stop at the feet of Taylor to keep the deficit to one.
However, Crewe could not take advantage and the game fell flat for the majority of the remainder.
Sub Lachlan Brook stung the palms of keeper Mateusz Hewelt in injury time, but The Railwaymen could not find a way through.
Crewe (3-5-2): Richards; Offord, McDonald (Mellor 76), Williams; Adebisi (King 86), C Finney, Thomas, Tabiner, O Finney (Brook 76), Baker-Richardson (Sambou 46), Agyei.
Subs not used: Okonkwo, Leshabela, Sass-Davies.
Booked: O Finney.
Tranmere (4-4-2): Hewelt; Dacres-Cogley (O’Connor 46), Byrne, Hockenhull, Jameson (Merrie 56); Hughes, Nolan, McAclear, Lomax (Hawkes 66); Taylor (Morris 84), Burton (Nevitt 66).
Subs not used: Murphy, Simeu, O’Connor.
Referee: Daniel Middleton.
Attendance: 888 (195).