CREWE Alexandra’s survival hopes took a blow after defeat at Prenton Park on Saturday saw Tranmere Rovers leap one point above them.
The visitors were undone by a single goal as teenager Matthew Pennington rose highest to nod home in the first half.
Byron Moore reacted to a defensive lapse in the Tranmere back four to find Brad Inman, but the winger fired straight at former Alex youth keeper Owain fon Wiliams.
Everton-loanee Pennington was then given space at the back post to meet Jason Koumas’ delivery and head Rovers into the lead.
The Railwaymen were left feeling aggrieved in the second half as first Chuks Aneke was bundled over inside the area and then skipper Matt Tootle was impeded twice in quick succession.
Alex keeper Ben Garratt was called into action in added time, he saved well from Cole Stockton’s 25-yard effort but the visitors could not salvage and equaliser.