Southend boss Paul Sturrock was delighted to see his team remain top of the npower League Two table after a hard-earned win against Crewe.
Bilel Mohsni got the only goal of the game in the 73rd minute when he stabbed the ball home from six yards after Alex goalkeeper Steve Phillips had parried a thunderbolt Ryan Hall free-kick.
"I'm very pleased; it was a hard-working performance from us," said Sturrock. "Crewe have an excellent away record and are a difficult team to break down, but we worked hard, were very solid, kept our shape and got our reward."
He added: "There were one or two chances in the first half and in the second half they made it very difficult for us. But Ryan Hall came up with a shot and Bilel followed it up to get the goal. The other pleasing thing is that we kept a clean sheet.
"We have worked hard on that over the past two weeks and it was good to see it get the rewards."
Crewe manager Steve Davis was not sure if the free-kick that led to the goal should have been given.
Carl Martin was booked for his foul on Michael Timlin but Davis said: "It was hard to see if it was a free-kick. I will look at it and if it was not a free kick then I will ask why it was given. If it was a then it was a unnecessary foul and there was not that much contact. "
Martin also thought his team's performance warranted a draw.
He added: "I think we did very well in the first half. We defended very well throughout the game. We set ourselves up to frustrate them and come at them on the break. We had a few chances and they had a few shots as well.
" It was a very tight game and I did not see either team scoring but we gave them a free kick and they got a bit lucky with a follow-up. But I felt that we should have got a point. We hoped to nick a goal and I was confident that if we had then we could have defended it."