Crewe Alexandra earned suitable revenge over their biggest rivals with a 3-1 victory at Port Vale lifting them back out of the relegation zone.
Mathias Pogba gave them an early advantage which was increased by Chuks Aneke’s penalty shortly after the interval. Brad Inman then sealed their triumph with seventeen minutes remaining despite a reply from Tom Pope.
Both Davis brothers lined up for their respective clubs and it was an early slip from Vale’s Joe which found Aneke unable to beat Chris Neal, who soon gathered another shot from Matt Tootle while Doug Loft dragged his 25-yard reply wide.
The Railwaymen still surged in front on fifteen minutes when Pogba forced the ball over the line after Byron Moore delivered from a short corner routine.
The advanced Tootle struck again at the keeper before Neal fended away from Pogba and Aneke side-footed wide. Home boss Micky Adams reacted with an early double-change that witnessed the departure of Joe Davis following an early caution.
Vale twice went close to reward as Pope headed against the crossbar from a Chris Lines delivery before drilling another attempt dangerously across goal. Back at the other end, Neal kept out Inman and then both Aneke and Pogba in quick succession.
The rapid action continued with Harry Davis blocking on the line from Pope, who then glanced another header marginally over ahead of the break.
But it was Crewe quickly extending their advantage following the restart when Loft tripped Tootle inside the area and Aneke fired in his twelfth goal of the campaign from the spot.
Neither Pope not substitute Jennison Myrie-Williams (twice) could find the target in reply before Aneke’s goalbound shot was deflected over the bar after an assist from Inman.
Then after Aneke had sent another effort wide, Inman swapped passes with Pogba and drove low beyond Neal to settle any doubt as to exactly where the points would be going.
The Valiants’ response had Ben Garratt turning over from Pope, who though headed in what proved a consolation from the resultant corner. Aneke subsequently forced another stop from Neal during the later stages of a thrilling local encounter.
Port Vale: Neal, Yates, Dickinson, Lines, Grimmer (Knott 56), J. Davis (Tomlin 33), Loft, Griffith, Pope, Hugill (Myrie-Williams 33), Jones
subs (unused): Dodds, Johnson, Williamson, Birchall
Goals: Pope (76)
Crewe Alexandra: Garratt, Tootle, H. Davis, Ellis, Guthrie, Evans, Grant, Inman, Pogba, Aneke, Moore
subs (unused): Phillips, Mellor, Dugdale, Osman, Nolan, Oliver, Waters
Goals: Pogba (15), Aneke (pen 48), Inman (73)
Ref: R. East
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