Delighted Crewe boss David Artell saluted the hard work his players have been putting in after they eased to a 2-0 victory at mid-table rivals Fleetwood.
A goal in each half – Crewe’s first in four matches – proved enough as the visitors bagged a deserved three points at the Highbury Stadium.
Artell said: “There were lots of pleasing things I saw tonight, all the players showed a really good understanding of what we needed to do to get the win here.
“To a man, the lads were very good but they needed to be.
“I spoke to them at length at half-time and asked them how brave they were.
“We’ve tried a new way of playing lately, and that has taught me so much more about these players.
“There was so much content for me in that first half, I hardly stopped speaking throughout the half-time break.
“That first goal was so pleasing too – it really epitomises the way I think these lads play.
“Owen Dale showed some real determination and the same goes to Luke Murphy, who lost the ball initially then worked so hard to get it back and create the chance.
“All that kind of stuff doesn’t come by chance. We’ve put the hard work in and earned this victory.”
Crewe struck in the 24th minute when Murphy slid a low cross into the path of Dale and he side-footed comfortably home from 12 yards.
Will Jaaskelainen superbly saved Kyle Vassell’s spot-kick to preserve the lead and Alex did not fluff their penalty lines late on as veteran Chris Porter slotted home comfortably in the 83rd minute.
Fleetwood boss Simon Grayson was left deflated after a second consecutive defeat.
Grayson said: “Crewe took their chances and we didn’t – I think that’s a fair way to sum up the game.
“We did well in the first half and created some decent chances but we didn’t take them, and then we missed the penalty.
“Crewe had got a goal out of nothing and so you find yourselves behind at half-time.
“We’d passed the ball around well enough but in the second half we got sucked into playing the game a little bit too long, too quickly.
“We worked hard enough in that second half but we probably could still have been playing now and we wouldn’t have scored.
“We just didn’t get the breaks that you need and require to win the game.
“We made a couple of costly errors and if you make consecutive errors like we did tonight in any game, then you’re going to get punished.
“That was the difference. It’s all about what you do in both boxes and we just weren’t ruthless enough in their box tonight.”