Despite a fine Lee Novak strike in the 81st minute, the hosts proved too strong on the day, as the Iron fell to defeat on the road.
The first opportunity of the game fell to the hosts in the third minute, and after a positive move down the left wing between Anene and Pickering, the latter’s fierce shot was beaten away by Iron ‘keeper Rory Watson.
The Alex continued to put the Iron under pressure in the early stages, and two minutes after the first chance, McGahey did well to read Powell’s delivery, diverting over his own bar for a corner, which the Iron subsequently defended.
In the 12th minute following van Veen’s short corner, Gilliead’s initial shot from the edge of the box was blocked, but the clearance fell to Novak out wide, who curled in a cross towards Brown, but the full back’s header was met with pressure and Jaaskelainen gathered the deflected effort.
Four minutes after the Iron’s first chance, Hurst’s men begun to grow into the game, enjoying further spells of possession. Coming down the right, Sutton back-healed for Gilliead, who laid the ball off to Lund, but after cutting inside onto his left foot, the central midfielder fired over from the edge of the box.
Somewhat against the run of play, Crewe opened the scoring in the 20th minute. Daniel Powell picked up a loose ball in the Iron half - drove forward - and lashed home into the bottom left corner from distance.
Straight after the the home side’s deadlock-breaker, the Iron were up the other end trying to equalise. McArdle leapt to meet a ball into the box, with the ball falling kindly to Gilliead, who couldn’t get the connection required to divert his effort goal-wards.
However - in the 26th minute - a sweeping move from the hosts forced Watson into action, as the Iron shot-stopper tipped Kirk’s long-range strike over the bar, following a swift counter-attack. From the resulting corner, the Iron rearguard stood strong to clear the danger.
The Alex came close five minutes later, and it was Kirk pulling the strings again from the left flank. It was his floated ball to the back post that nearly crept in the top corner, and despite an arriving red shirt, the ball bounced out for a goal-kick to the Iron.
Shortly after, a Lowery free-kick from the right was met perfectly by Captain Ng, but the defender couldn’t quite keep his header down, as it whistled over Watson’s crossbar.
The hosts doubled their lead in the 40th minute, as half-time approached. A diagonal ball from Ng to Kirk was whipped across the face of goal by the latter, finding Paul Green who couldn’t miss, tapping into the empty net.
The final chance of the half fell to the Iron, through Novak. Van Veen slipped the number 17 in, between two defenders, but Ng did well to usher Novak out wide, and after a couple of short passes the move came to an end.
After the break, the hosts looked to extend their advantage in the 49th minute, after a marauding run forward from the back by Ng, but Brown and McArdle combined well to guide the full-back away from goal, until Kirk’s floated ball in was easily gathered by Watson.
Four minutes later, Ng stood over a 25-yard free-kick, after McArdle brought a dangerous counter attack to an end with a foul. Ng’s curling effort looked to be creeping in the bottom left corner, but the strike flew just wide, with Watson at full stretch.
In the 59th minute, Anene broke through in behind the Iron defence, but his effort was brilliantly stopped by Watson, as the Iron ‘keeper rushed off his line to block the chip shot, and keep the score-line at 2-0.
Three minutes later, Gilliead took an Iron corner from the right, and after delivering the ball in, it took a lucky ricochet off a Crewe defender, before being hacked clear by the hosts, with a number of Iron shirts waiting to pounce.
The Alex continued to pile on the pressure on the Iron, with a rapid counter attack in the 68th minute becoming the latest addition. Powell was the final man on the ball for the Railwaymen, but his low drive was well-held by Watson between the sticks. Moments later, the hosts packed the Iron box with red shirts, and after a smart turn, Lowery sliced a strike harmlessly over the bar from close range.
Soon after the flurry of chances, Callum Ainley’s thumping strike towards the centre of the goal was beaten away by Watson, who’d endured a busy afternoon.
With 77 minutes on the clock, Gilliead earned the Iron a corner after reaching the by-line. From the resulting set-piece, the aforementioned Gilliead found Brown at the back post, and his header caused a scramble in the goal-mouth, but referee Marc Edwards deemed there to be a foul on ‘keeper Jaaskelainen.
All of a sudden, the Iron dragged a goal back in 81st minute through Lee Novak. After a sumptuous passing move, Gilliead found substitute Miller, who exchanged a one-two with Novak, before the latter rifled a strike from the edge of the box into the top right corner.
However, the comeback wasn’t to be, as two minutes later Daniel Powell grabbed his second of the afternoon, firing a low strike beyond Watson at the near post.
In the third minute of four added on, Lund’s 20-yard left-footed strike forced Jaaskelainen into a smart save down to his right hand side, but it wasn’t to be for the Iron, as Hurst’s men were condemned to defeat at the Alexandra Stadium.
CREWE: Jaaskelainen, Ng, Pickering (Adebisi 79’), Wintle, Powell, Kirk, Ainley (Finney 86’), Green, Hunt, Lowery, Anene.
CREWE UNUSED SUBS: Richards, Jones, Dale, Johnson, Mbulu.
IRON: Watson, Lund, van Veen (Dales 45’), Perch, Novak, Gilliead, Sutton, McArdle, McGahey, Brown, Eisa (Miller 76’).
IRON UNUSED SUBS: Collins, Butler, Bedeau, Proctor, McAtee.
ATTENDANCE: 4,578 (358 away).