Substitute AJ Leitch-Smith scored a 75th minute winner as Crewe Alexandra accounted for lowly Scunthorpe United at Gresty Road.
The 22-year-old was on the mark after Luke Murphy’s penalty came back off an upright following Tom Newey’s shove on Byron Moore.
Andy Barcham had already struck the woodwork for the visitors at the opposite end inside the opening five minutes while Brad Inman twice curled wide in reply.
Matt Tootle earlier returned from illness for the home side and soon forced a low save from Sam Slocombe. But it required a sharp reaction from his opposite number Steve Phillips to avoid an own-goal following a deflection off Harry Davis.
Mark Duffy also called Phillips in action after the visitors had a goal ruled out for barging into the experienced shot-stopper. Akpo Sodje then missed with a late first-half header after Moore had already hoisted over at the other end.
And the visitors attacked again on the restart but it was their opponents this time disappointed as Mathias Pogba saw an effort ruled out for offside following good work by Max Clayton.
The well-travelled Karl Hawley was in turn denied by both Phillips and the blocking Tootle before Sodje (twice) and Hawley missed with further efforts as the away side continued to be dangerous. Crewe also lost the services of the limping Davis at this point and he was replaced by Mark Ellis.
However, Kelvin Mellor’s deep cross did find fellow full-back Tootle requiring another stop from Slocombe before newly-introduced substitutes Leitch-Smith and Ryan Colclough combined for Abdul Osman to deliver and Moore to receive a push inside the area.
But Murphy’s low penalty was helped onto a post by keeper Slocombe, only for Leitch-Smith to return it into the net and claim his fifth goal of the season.
Both Murphy and Mellor also saw later attempts saved as the home side held on to move themselves back into the top half of the table.
Crewe Alexandra: Phillips, Mellor, Davis (Ellis 61), Dugdale, Tootle, Murphy, Osman, Inman, M. Clayton (Colclough 71), Pogba (Leitch-Smith 71), Moore
subs (unused): Martin, Turton, Robertson, Aneke
Goals: Leitch-Smith (75)
Scunthorpe United: Slocombe, Kennedy, Reid, Canavan, Newey, Ryan, Duffy, Collins, Sodje (Grella 78), Barcham (Godden 82), Hawley
subs (unused): Severn, Mirfin, Walker, Adelakun
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