Match ends, Preston North End 5, Crewe Alexandra 1.
Joe Garner scored four goals against strugglers Crewe as second-placed Preston North End extended their unbeaten League One run to eight games.
Garner opened the scoring with a right-footed effort before nodding in a second from a Paul Gallagher cross.
Defender Ollie Turton hit back for Crewe, only for Garner to compete his hat-trick with a curled effort.
The striker added a fourth with a tap-in after the ball came off the post, before Jermaine Beckford made it 5-1.
Preston have now won seven of their last eight games to retain their position in the automatic promotion places, while Crewe slip to 19th in the table, now within four points of the drop zone.
Crewe manager Steve Davis told BBC Radio Stoke:
"If we ever want to contest for a top six finish in the future then we have to match teams like Preston and this showed that we have a lot of work to do.
"We were in the game at 2-1 and I was happy to go in at the interval at 2-1 because we had worked hard to get back into it. We then had a goal disallowed to make it 2-2.
"The referee has disallowed it for whatever reason and maybe the crowd and the reaction of the Preston players has influenced that. That was a turning point.
"The third goal was a killer and then the fourth and fifth goals were mistakes from us. We cannot afford to come to places like Preston and make costly mistakes."
- 19WelshBooked at 66minsSubstituted forKilkennyat 76'minutes
- 10BeckfordSubstituted forEbanks-Blakeat 83'minutes
- 27RobinsonSubstituted forHumphreyat 70'minutes
- 20JonesSubstituted forAtkinsonat 74'minutes
- 30TateSubstituted forCooperat 65'minutes
- 35AjoseSubstituted forIkpeazuat 65'minutes
- 12Dalla Valle
- Chris Kavanagh
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Preston North End 5, Crewe Alexandra 1.
Foul by Daniel Johnson (Preston North End).
Jamie Ness (Crewe Alexandra) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Foul by Sylvain Ebanks-Blake (Preston North End).
Harry Davis (Crewe Alexandra) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Hand ball by Uche Ikpeazu (Crewe Alexandra).
Attempt blocked. Uche Ikpeazu (Crewe Alexandra) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked.
Substitution, Preston North End. Sylvain Ebanks-Blake replaces Jermaine Beckford.
Goal! Preston North End 5, Crewe Alexandra 1. Jermaine Beckford (Preston North End) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the centre of the goal. Assisted by Neil Kilkenny.
Corner, Crewe Alexandra. Conceded by Scott Laird.
Goal! Preston North End 4, Crewe Alexandra 1. Joe Garner (Preston North End) right footed shot from very close range to the centre of the goal.
Jermaine Beckford (Preston North End) hits the right post with a right footed shot from a difficult angle on the left.
Attempt blocked. Daniel Johnson (Preston North End) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked.
Substitution, Preston North End. Neil Kilkenny replaces John Welsh.
Paul Huntington (Preston North End) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Uche Ikpeazu (Crewe Alexandra).
Substitution, Crewe Alexandra. Chris Atkinson replaces James Jones.
Goal! Preston North End 3, Crewe Alexandra 1. Joe Garner (Preston North End) right footed shot from the left side of the box to the top right corner. Assisted by Daniel Johnson.
Attempt missed. John Welsh (Preston North End) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the left.