Tranmere Rovers advanced through to the next round of the Cheshire Senior Cup on Tuesday night after a 1-0 victory over Crewe at the Alexandra Stadium.
A first half goal from Stefan Payne was enough to separate the two sides on a cold and rainy night in Cheshire.
The squad, managed by Andy Parkinson and Shaun Garnett, was mainly filled with first team players needing match fitness and players recently returning from injury with Mark Ellis and Evan Gumbs getting their first competitive minutes under their belt after long term injuries.
The opening exchanges in the game were tight with both teams keeping the ball well but not managing to carve out any real chances. The first Rovers shot came via Connor Jennings as he turned his man on the edge of the box but could only find the side netting with his powerful shot.
Shortly after, the deadlock was broken. Crewe defender Travis Johnson was caught taking too long on the ball by Stefan Payne who raced clear and slotted past Richards in the hosts’ goal to put Rovers into the lead.
On the 25th minute, Crewe’s first real chance came about. Connor Heath found space behind the Rovers defence however Luke Pilling raced off his line to dive at the attacker’s feet to maintain Rovers’ lead.
Heath was once again the danger man for The Railwaymen and Djalo squared the ball along the box to him however his curling shot landed a yard over the bar in the last action of the first half.
Crewe continued to push for an equaliser in the second half as Crewe winger Tyreece Onkeya found space down the left and drove into the box but lost his balance as he went to shoot, resulting in a tame effort straight at Pilling.
Trying to get that all important second goal, Tranmere resorted to some speculative efforts from distance. First from Danns and then form Jennings however neither efforts could find the target.
In the closing moments of the game, Crewe were applying plenty of pressure to the Rovers box but brilliant defending from the backline and in particular Evan Gumbs, was enough to shut out Crewe and keep a clean sheet for Rovers.
Tranmere will face an away tie to Chester in the next round with a date for the fixture to be announced in due course.
Tranmere Rovers team: Pilling, Spellman, Gumbs ©, Ellis (Hayde 45’), Walker-Rice, Danns, Jennings, Gilmour, Banks (Hall 68’), Jennings, Payne (Thompson 90’)
Subs not used: Passant (GK), Gouldbourne