Rochdale were left to rue mistakes and missed opportunities as they fell to a 2-0 defeat at a wet Gresty Road on Saturday.
First half goals from Marcus Haber and Bradden Inman secured the points for Crewe Alexandra.
Manager Keith Hill named an unchanged eleven for the game. There was, however, two changes to the substitutes’ list. Andy Cannon and Michael Rose returned to the bench, in place of Rhys Bennett and Scott Tanser.
The game was end to end during a lively start at a soggy Gresty Road, but it was Rochdale who created the better of the opportunities, before the Alex went on to stun Dale before the interval.
Jamie Allen saw an on-target effort kept out by Ben Garratt, but it was Ian Henderson who had the best chance of the half so far in the 23rd minute.
Unmarked at the back post, he headed wide of the upright, from a Callum Camps delivery.
The home-side opened the scoring on the half hour mark from a corner ball, when Marcus Haber headed home at the back post.
Dale responded well after going behind, but clear cut opportunities were kept at minimum as the Alex defended resolutely.
Most notably, in the 38th minute David Syers had an effort blocked, before Vincenti’s snapshot was eventually smothered by the ‘keeper, a couple of yards from the line. It was an important save with Henderson lurking on the line.
On the stroke of half-time the home side doubled their advantage, after a mistake in the middle of the pitch allowed them in on goal.
Bradden Inman broke, running through one on one with Lillis, before firing beyond the ‘keeper, who was left with no chance of a save.
HT: CREWE ALEX 2-0 ROCHDALE
Manager Keith Hill made his first change of the game at the interval, as Calvin Andrew replaced Vincenti for the start of the second half.
A minute into the period Camps fired narrowly wide of the target. It was agonisingly close, leaving the young midfielder with his head in his hands.
Five minutes later, Allen tried an ambitious snap-shot on goal after Dale had hit the home side on the break. Again, it flew narrowly wide of the post.
Shortly after the hour mark, Lillis pulled off a fine reactive save to deny Haber a second of the afternoon. His header at the post took a deflection, almost diverting it into the net, but the alert goalkeeper was on hand to punch around the upright.
In the 70th minute Henderson had his second golden chance of the match. After a well-worked move, he curled an effort across goal and wide of the target from six-yards.
Shortly after, Joe Bunney replaced Tom Kennedy, before David Syers made way for Nathaniel Mendez-Laing.
Five minutes from time, Rafferty made a great run up the right before sending the ball into the area, where Henderson was kept out by Garratt. A series of corners followed, but despite asking all of the questions as the clock ticked towards full time, Dale were unable to find the goal their play deserved.
FT: Crewe Alex 2, Rochdale 0.