- Railwaymen beaten by one goal on the road
- Baker-Richardson starts for first time since October
- Holicek makes his league debut for club
Crewe Alexandra were beaten by a single goal at Northampton Town.
Louis Appere’s first-half strike proved enough to separate the sides, as The Railwaymen drew a blank on the road.
A disappointing first 45 minutes was followed by an improved second-half, but Crewe – for whom keeper James Beadle was outstanding - could not find a leveller.
Now Lee Bell’s men will prepare for their third consecutive away game, at Gillingham on Tuesday.
Lee Bell made three changes to the side that lost at Stevenage in midweek. Two were enforced, with injured midfield duo Ryan Finnigan and Tariq Uwakwe being replaced by Charlie Colkett and Lachlan Brook, who made their first starts since January.
Courtney Baker-Richardson made his first start since October, with Elliott Nevitt dropping to the bench, as the Alex lined up in a 4-3-3.
Northampton, captained by former Crewe man Jon Guthrie, rattled the woodwork on 19 minutes after a sedate start to the game.
Top-scorer Sam Hoskins got behind the defence and stabbed goalwards, only for the ball to hit the underside of the bar and bounce to safety.
But on 24 minutes it was 1-0 after Crewe failed to clear and Hoskins crossed for Appere to smash home.
Beadle made a super point-blank save after a ricochet in the box almost took the ball, and Kelvin Mellor cleared off the line as the Cobblers kept coming.
Beadle was at his brilliant best to deny Will Hondermarck from close range as the clock ticked towards half time.
Crewe enjoyed more territory early in the second half but found it hard to test keeper Lee Burge.
Beadle parried a Jack Sowerby strike on the hour, while Joel Tabiner volleyed over at the other end.
The Alex switched to 4-4-2 for the final half-hour, with Elliott Nevitt on for Baker-Richardson.
Beadle acrobatically clawed away a Sowerby half-volley, and a Hoskins effort, as the hosts looked for a second.
Northampton survived a scare in injury time when subs Matus Holicek and David Amoo threatened to force the ball home in a goalmouth scramble, but the hosts held on.
Northampton (5-3-2): Burge; Lintott, Sherring, Guthrie, Haynes (Osew, 63); Sowerby, Leonard, Hondermarck (Abimbola, 90); Hoskins (Wright-Phillips, 83), Appere (Yengi, 83), Bowie (Pinnock, 63).
Subs not used: King, Cartwright.
Crewe (4-3-3): Beadle; Mellor, O’Riordan, Offord, Adebisi; Tabiner, Colkett (Thomas, 72), Ainley (Holicek, 77); Agyei, Brook (Amoo, 77), Baker-Richardson (Nevitt, 59).
Subs not used: Richards, Lawton, Griffiths.
Referee: Andrew Kitchen
Attendance: 5,673 (248).