Crewe kept pace with leaders Swindon to remain second in Sky Bet League One after registering their seventh consecutive home victory with a 2-0 success over Cheshire rivals Macclesfield.
An early penalty from Chris Porter sent the Railwaymen on their way before Middlesbrough loanee Stephen Walker doubled the lead before the break.
The struggling Silkmen, now without a win in seven, started off on the wrong foot when Fraser Horsfall’s trip on the marauding Perry Ng on the byline was punished by Porter who sent Jonathan Mitchell the wrong way from the spot after 11 minutes.
Walker was a threat throughout and Mitchell did well to push around the winger’s angled effort.
Crewe didn’t have it all on their own way and Macclesfield showed glimpses of attacking potential. But they wasted a chance to level before the half hour mark when Corey O’Keefe blazed his first-time effort high and wide from 10 yards out.
Crewe moved with swifter purpose and, when a crossfield pass released Walker, the loanee showed great composure to finish across Mitchell from right of the box..
Danny Whitehead’s effort almost caught out Will Jaaskelainen, with the Crewe keeper scrambling the ball around.
But Crewe could have had more after the break when Macc skipper Fiacre Kelleher was close to turning a cross into his own net and Walker curled a left-footer onto the far post.
Jaaskelainen turned around substitute Joe Ironside’s neat-post flick to deny Macc a late consolation.