- In-form Rovers prove too strong on atmospheric night at Prenton Park
- Joel Tabiner impressed on his full league debut
- The Railwaymen stay 12th in League Two after defeat
Crewe Alexandra slipped to a 3-0 defeat at in-form Tranmere Rovers on Friday night.
A first-half strike from Dynel Simeu, and strikes from Elliott Nevitt and Lee O’Connor after the restart, put paid to hopes of points on the road.
The Railwaymen worked hard and gave everything, and they should have had a penalty when Bassala Sambou was mauled to the ground in the penalty area in the second half.
But ultimately their efforts were not enough, and The Alex stay 12th in the League Two table.
Alex Morris made two changes to the side which drew against Gillingham last weekend, with homegrown forward Joel Tabiner handed his full debut in League Two.
Khanya Leshabela came into midfield in replace Tariq Uwakwe, who picked up a knock in training.
Tranmere, unchanged, came into the game on the back of four straight wins and hit the front on 22 minutes through defender Simeu.
Keeper Arthur Okonkwo had tipped a Kieron Morris strike for a corner, but when the flag kick came in Crewe didn’t deal with it and the big defender tapped home from close range.
There was little to separate the teams in terms of quality, with pace and effort being the main feature of the first 45 minutes.
Courtney Baker-Richardson headed wide from an Eli King corner in the best opportunity the visitors conjured, but they trailed by a single goal at the break.
The Railwaymen started the second half brightly, and Baker-Richardson twice went close with a header from a corner, and a shot on the run, but both were off target.
But on 57 minutes it was 2-0 against the run of play when Josh Dacres-Cogley overlapped down the right and substitute Nevitt powered home a header at the far post.
A double-substitution on the hour gave Crewe five attacking players on the pitch, and the game opened up.
Tabiner screwed a shot off target, Dan Agyei saw an effort deflected wide, and there were promising spells in which Sambou was clearly fouled in the penalty area.
But in the final minute O’Connor’s deflected cross beat an unsighted Okonkwo to rub salt into the Alex wounds.
Tranmere (4-4-2): Doohan; Dacres-Cogley, Turnbull, Simeu, Bristow; Hawkes (Hughes 89), Merrie, O’Connor, Morris; Hemmings (Burton 92), Lewis (Nevitt 33).
Subs not used: Hewelt, Byrne, Nolan, McAlear.
Crewe (4-3-3): Okonkwo; Mellor, Offord, McDonald, Adebisi (C Finney 86); Thomas (Sambou 60), King, Leshabela (Brook 60); Tabiner (O Finney 75), Baker-Richardson, Agyei.
Subs not used: Richards, Sass-Davies, Williams.
Referee: Simon Mather.