Crewe Alexandra never recovered from conceding a couple of early goals before slipping to a 2-0 defeat against Portsmouth at Fratton Park.
On loan Bournemouth striker Wes Thomas headed the hosts into the lead inside ninety seconds and was then adjudged to have been tripped by Andy Bond inside the area and Izale McLeod struck home the penalty.
Manager Steve Davis went with an unchanged starting line-up despite the availability of Byron Moore and Abdul Osman but immediately witnessed Thomas heading in a Jon Harley cross at the far post after a corner wasn’t properly cleared.
It then took a decent stop from Alan Martin to prevent McLeod from quickly doubling that advantage while Crewe skipper Luke Murphy had a free-kick deflected wide after a foul on Mathias Pogba.
However, Martin was soon saving again – this time with his legs from goalscorer Thomas, who soon forced the Scot into another important block before going down under the challenge of Bond. McLeod duly converted from the spot.
The visitors soon lost striker AJ Leitch-Smith after hobbling out of a challenge and he was replaced by Moore. But it was Martin again to the rescue when Bond diverted a McLeod cross towards his own goal. Martin also produced a brilliant low save to keep out Thomas inside the area and then turned over from McLeod.
His opposite number Mikkel Andersen was called upon when Chuks Aneke threatened early in the second-half and substitute Moore also fired in an effort as the visitors continued to look better following the break.
Arsenal teenager Aneke then forced another save from the on loan Danish keeper courtesy of a 25-yard effort and Murphy was the next to try his luck when clearing the crossbar.
But the hosts were always dangerous and former Crewe striker Luke Rodgers almost set up fellow substitute Jack Compton late on until the valiant Martin once again came out to block.
Portsmouth: Andersen, Harley, Gyepes, Ertl, Michalik, Webster, Williamson, Howard, Buzsaky (Compton 75), McLeod (Rodgers 87), Thomas
subs (unused): Eastwood, J. Thompson, Walker, Obita, Harris
Goals: Thomas (2), McLeod (pen 18)
Crewe Alexandra: Martin, Mellor, Davis, Ellis, Tootle, Murphy, Aneke, Bond, M. Clayton, Pogba, Leitch-Smith (Moore 30)
subs (unused): Garratt, Dugdale, Turton, Robertson, Guthrie, Daniels
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