Colchester United have been beaten by a solitary goal at Crewe Alexandra.
The first half came and went without too much goalmouth action, with long range efforts from the U's failing to really test the home keeper.
After the break, a deflected free-kick fell to Shaun Miller, and he volleyed home to give Crewe a much needed win in their battle for survival.
Despite the U's bringing on three attacking substitutes, the hosts protected Ben Garrett and prevented the U's getting a late equaliser.
John McGreal made one change to his starting line-up, bringing in Ryan Jackson for Kane Vincent-Young.
The game could have had its first goal within two minutes, with what looked like an intended cross from the Crewe right.
Sam Walker would probably have been expecting that cross into his box, but he had to readjust his position sharply to prevent the ball sneaking in at his near post.
The U’s had their first sight of goal on nine minutes, with Drey Wright cutting inside before bringing a good save out of home keeper Ben Garrett.
He pushed it out for a corner, which was cleared to the edge of the box for Ben Stevenson to drill a shot straight at Garrett.
Garrett saved easily again from Mikael Mandron on twelve minutes, before Eddie Nolan curled his shot wide at the other end.
And the home centre half then tested Walker to the full, with a header from a quickly taken free kick, but the U’s stopper reacted with a fantastic save to tip the effort over the bar.
From that set piece, Tom Eastman made a last ditch block to deny the hosts before the ball was cleared upfield.
The home side were beginning to exert some pressure without testing Walker again, and it was the U’s that had the next chance.
On the break, Mandron found Ogedi-Uzokwe and his ball back into the path of Ben Stevenson saw the loanee hit another shot straight at Garrett.
Stevenson then hit a shot over the bar after Senior’s free kick hit the wall, and it was the visitors that also had the final effort of the first half.
Mandron, who had got through a lot of work in deeper areas, managed to get further forward on thirty five minutes but could only shoot wide.
The last ten minutes of the first period went by without incident, and the scores remained goalless at the break.
During the half time break, U’s boss McGreal would have asked for more tempo from his side, but it was the hosts that came out of the blocks better.
Within a couple of minutes, Pickering’s shot went narrowly wide and the U’s had to throw themselves into a couple of blocks to prevent shots testing Walker.
After a tame Ogedi-Uzokwe header went straight at Garrett, Pickering hit another shot just wide as the hosts continued to put pressure on the U’s.
And just after the hour mark, they got their noses in front.
Comley was harshly penalised on the edge of the box but the wall did its job as they blocked the free-kick.
It looped up behind the wall, and fell invitingly for Miller to volley home from eight yards out to make it 1-0 to Crewe.
Within the next seven minutes, McGreal used all three of his options from the bench as he bought on Dickenson, Mandeville and Murray.
In the remaining twenty minutes, a long range Dickenson effort never threatened the home goal, and a Mandron header then looped over the bar in the vain search for a leveller.
It was a disappointing afternoon in Cheshire for the U’s, but the gap to the Play-Offs remained at three points due to favourable results elsewhere in League Two.