Lone goal enough for Alex
Mon 1st Apr 3pm
Crewe Alexandra warmed up for Wembley next week with a 1-0 victory against Preston North End at Gresty Road.
On loan Brad Inman scored the winner from Kelvin Mellor's assist just beyond the half-hour - his second goal in two games and eighth of the season.
Manager Steve Davis earlier made four changes with a debut for new loan signing Kevin Stewart and recalls for match-winner Inman, goalkeeper Alan Martin and Ollie Turton.
Restored keeper Martin was soon called into action to deal with a snapshot from Graham Cummins before Ryan Colcough was wide in reply.
However, Aussie-born midfielder Inman went much closer midway through the opening half when forcing a save from Declan Rudd, who then parried Mark Ellis' header from Colclough's corner.
His opposite number Martin was required again when Lee Holmes' delivery produced another opportunity for Cummins before home full-back Mellor surged forward and crossed for Inman to open the scoring.
Midfielder Holmes swept a free-kick wide and Joe Garner volleyed over as the visitors tried to respond before the break.
Alex keeper Martin then struck a clearance upon the restart which bounced straight over the opposition goal while Mathias Pogba next volleyed wide of the target.
Australian defender Bailey Wright was similarly wide in reply from Holmes' corner until Colclough linked up with Max Clayton to force another response from Rudd.
The Railwaymen then lost top scorer Pogba through a suspected thigh injury and recent signing Nathan Ellington was his replacement.
But it was the visitors who were closest to an equaliser when Holmes' superb 25-yard effort found only an upright.
Crewe Alexandra: Martin, Mellor, Davis, Ellis, Stewart, Turton, Osman, Inman (Moore 72), Colclough, M. Clayton (Tootle 88), Pogba (Ellington 79)
subs (unused): Phillips, Ray, Aneke, Leitch-Smith
Goals: Inman (32)
Preston North End: Rudd, Huntington, Connolly, Buchanan, Wright, Keane, Wroe, Holmes, Monakana (Hayhurst 66), Cummins (King 66), Garner (Foster 90)
subs (unused): Stuckmann, Davies, Procter, Mousinho
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