On a wet and windy evening at the Alexandra Stadium, Peterborough United were undone by a first half penalty, a spot-kick that led to the dismissal of Michael Bostwick as Crewe Alexandra grimly held on for all three points despite a spirited effort from Darren Ferguson's men. Posh lost Jack Baldwin to a second booking deep into stoppage time.
Conor Washington curled the first effort of the game wide of the target after a good pass from Marcus Maddison as both sides took time to adjust to the conditions.
Michael Bostwick saw a low free-kick blocked on eight minutes while the in-form Maddison saw a low shot comfortably gathered by Garratt in the Alex goal.
A slick move involving Maddison and Taylor created a shooting opportunity for Smith on 19 minutes, but the full-back couldn't keep his half volley down and the ball flew into the stand behind the goal.
Maddison saw a free-kick blocked before Baldwin headed over the resulting set-piece by Taylor. On 29 minutes, Posh's good start was undone as a corner was flighted to the back post, nodded into the path of Dugdale who was tugged to the floor by Bostwick. Referee Mr Simpson brandished a red card to the Posh defender and HABER converted the spot-kick.
Darren Ferguson made a change shortly afterwards with Gabi Zakuani replacing Taylor. Maddison tested Garratt moments after the re-start after a powerful run as Posh tried to get themselves back on level terms.
Joe Newell saw a shot deflected wide as Posh caught the hosts cold on the counter attack as the game reached the hour mark. Maddison fired a free-kick from his kind of distance into the wall on 62 minutes after he was felled initially.
Inman was denied by a parry from Alnwick moments later as Crewe came close to nicking a second goal. Jack Payne was booked for a foul in the middle of the park on 66 minutes.
On 75 minutes, a mazy run from substitute Nathaniel Mendez-Laing saw him travel 40-yards with the ball before feeding Maddison who took a touch and then saw his powerful drive tipped around the post by Garratt.
The talented Inman was a whisker away from making the game safe after exchanging a one-two with Cooper, but he curled his shot inches past the post.
Maddison fired wide on 88 minutes as Crewe tried to run down the clock with substitutions. Jack Baldwin was shown a second yellow card deep into stoppage time for a foul.
Final Score: Crewe Alexandra 1-0 Posh
Crewe: Garratt, Tootle, Ray, Dugdale, Turton, Inman (sub Ness 88min), Leigh, Haber, Brandy (sub Cooper 77 min), Tate, Grant. Unused subs: Shearer, Guthrie, Atkinson, Waters, Haynes.
Posh: Alnwick, Smith, Bostwick, Santos (sub Mendez-Laing 72min), Baldwin, Newell, Maddison, Payne, Anderson (sub Ferdinand 68min), Washington, Taylor(sub Zakuani 31min) Unused subs: Grant, James, Oztumer, McEvoy.
Attendance: 3,524 (251 Posh fans)