A first-half header from Michael Williams consigned Town to a 1-0 defeat to Crewe Alexandra at The Envirovent Stadium this afternoon.
Town managed to stymie the league’s top scorers but couldn’t find a way through a resolute visitors defence.
Town made three changes from the side that fell to defeat in midweek at home to Mansfield Town. In came Josh Falkingham, Abraham Odoh and Luke Armstrong with Dean Cornelius, Sam Folarin and Jack Muldoon dropping down to the bench.
For the visitors there two changes to the side beaten 2-0 at Stockport County last time out. Elliot Nevitt returned in place of Courtney Baker-Richardson whilst Joel Tabenier replaced Jack Powell, who has been ruled out for the season with injury.
Simon Weaver had implored his side not to be apprehensive and it was a bright start from Town after Elliot Nevitt had volleyed over in the first minute.
Odoh shimmied past his marker to feed Armstrong who drew the save from Harvey Davies. George Thomson then saw his shot deflected wide after neat inter-play between Odoh and Matty Daly down the left.
On fifteen minutes Town went close to opening the scoring when Matty Foulds cross was only half-cleared with the ball falling to Daly but he was denied by the outstretched hand of Davies to steer the ball just past the top corner.
Chris Long then saw his snap shot go wide of Oxley’s goal but the Alex forward went closer at the midpoint of the half when he took advantage of Rod McDonald’s slip to shift the ball on to his left. His effort was only narrowly wide of a full-stretch Oxley.
The visitors did take the lead after half an hour though. The Town defence failed to clear a deep throw into the penalty area and Williams was on hand to head low past Oxley.
Crewe lost the lively Long five minutes later when his afternoon was ended prematurely through injury and was replaced by Aaron Rowe.
Levi Sutton was booked on the stroke of half-time for Town after preventing a quick Crewe breakaway with Town almost getting level in stoppage time when Odoh’s clever trip behind the defence was almost met by a sliding Armstrong, but he couldn’t quite get the necessary touch to steer the ball home.
Goalscorer Williams was replaced by Ryan Cooney after the break after suffering an injury in the final moments of the first-half.
Town were dealt a blow themselves barely a minute in when Oxley was injured after attempting to clear from a McDonald backpass. The injury saw Lewis Thomas come on for his league debut for the club.
Daly, in the thick of things throughout the first-half, almost caught Davies out ten minutes after the re-start with a clever chip but there was a little too much weight on his effort.
Thomson then went close with a free-kick from distance that took a deflection a fraction over the bar, with Sutton going close with a header from the ensuing corner.
Simon Weaver introduced Sam Folarin after 65 minutes with Thomson dropping deeper to enable a return to a 4-2-3-1 formation.
Town continued to press, forcing a series of corners but the Alex defence stood firm to clear any threat.
Tabenier was then withdrawn in favour of Connor Thomas as the visitors looked to shore up matters heading into final quarter of an hour of the game.
Thomson fired over with just over five minutes remaining but Alex were controlling the game well as the clock ticked down.
A burst of pace from Folarin in the final minute threatened to create an opportunity and his ball found its way to Armstrong who struck first time but his effort was too close to Davies.