Crewe Alexandra 1 PNE 0
A first half goal from on loan Newcastle man Brad Inman gave the Alex the three points on Easter Monday.
His deflected finish with 32 minutes gone and the goalkeeping of Alan Martin was the difference between the sides.
In front of the travelling sell out army of North End fans at a bitterly cold Gresty Road; Lilywhites boss Simon Grayson made three changes to the side that had drawn with Portsmouth on Good Friday.
Paul Connolly came in at right back, with Keith Keane moving into the centre of the midfield – where he captained the side for the first time, with Graham Cummins coming in to partner Joe Garner in attack.
Chances were at a premium in the opening stages, the best of them coming with a great run from David Buchanan down the left, pulling the ball back for Cummins. His shot from ten yards out was superbly saved by Martin in the Alex goal.
As the half went on the home side started to create a few openings, mainly on the break and on 18 minutes a harsh foul was given against Jeffrey Monakana on the right on right hand edge of the box, and it required a big clearance by Bailey Wright from Turton’s cross.
Twenty-four minutes in there was a great save from Declan Rudd to deny a Bradden Inman left foot drive from left hand corner of box.
From the corner North End broke with Holmes and Cummins through on goal; the former squared to the Irishman, but another great save by Martin with his legs denied him the opener and then in the follow up again diving to his left he denied Joe Garner.
The lead was earned by the Railwaymen on 32 minutes, a counter attack from Crewe down the right, Kelvin Mellor got to the byline and pulled it back and Inman fired into the bottom right hand corner via a deflection.
The Lilywhites looked to get back into the game before the break and Lee Holmes was brought down 25 yards out by Osman, who was booked for his troubles, but Holmes’ left foot free kick was over the wall, but wide of the right hand post.
The last touch of the half saw Monakana – switched with Lee Holmes - break down the right, his cross was perfect to the penalty spot and Joe Garner timed a vicious volley, but couldn’t quite keep it down.
In the first minute of the second half North End and Graham Cummins was screaming for a penalty as he appeared to be flattened trying to get to Lee Holmes' left wing cross, but referee James Adcock - the last to award PNE a penalty at Deepdale - waved away the claims.
On the hour mark a flurry of pressure from North End concluded with Bailey Wright rising highest to meet Lee Holmes' deep right wing corner, but he couldn't keep the header down and test Martin again.
The Lilywhites were not getting the rub of any of the key decisions, with Jack King and Will Hayhurst added to their attacking power.
With seven minutes left Lee Holmes fired a 30 yard thunderbolt that came back off the inside of the right hand post and from the follow up Alan Martin saved King's goalward header, with the uprights still shaking from the power of the winger's shot.
It was all out attack for North End then as King flicked on for Garner, but a superb tackle by Mark Ellis denied the frontman as he was about to pull the trigger.
Will Hayhurst fired over after some good trickery around the edge of the box as the clock ran into the injury time of four added minutes.
In the first minute Wroe was denied after Garner's clever flick, but the home side held on for the points.
: Martin, Davis, Ellis, Clayton (Tootle, 88), Pogba Ellington, 79), Turton, Mellor, Osman, Colclough, Inman (Moore, 73), Stewart. Subs not used: Phillips, Tootle, Leitch-Smith, Ray, Aneke.Crewe Alexandra line-up
: Rudd, Connolly, Buchanan, Keane, Huntington, Wright, Monakana (Hayhurst, 66), Wroe, Cummins (King, 66), Garner (Foster, 90), Holmes. Subs not used: Stuckmann, Procter, Mousinho, Foster, Davies.PNE line-up
: 6,376 (2,380 PNE fans)Attendance
: Mr James AdcockReferee