Billy Kee and Jordan Clark were on the mark as Accrington moved up to third in the Sky Bet League Two standings with a 2-0 win at Crewe, who finished the game with 10 men.
Stanley made it count early on at Gresty Road, with Kayden Jackson taken down inside the box by Crewe skipper Michael Raynes, leaving Kee to blast home from the spot in the third minute.
John Coleman's side doubled their lead when some incisive play put Jackson in on the right and when Richards beat out the striker's angled drive, Clark polished off the rebound with a flying header from close range eight minutes after the opener.
After a heartening round of applause broke out on the 15th minute in memory of tragic Stanley academy youngster Jordan Moseley, who passed away this week, Accrington came came under pressure.
Jordan Bowery dragged an effort past the far post, while Tom Lowery and Chris Porter went close for the Railwaymen.
But Stanley were dangerous on the break throughout and after the break Kee flashed a shot across the face of goal.
Raynes' dismissal eight minutes before the final whistle came after the defender picked up a second booking for holding Mallik Wilkes, which enabled Stanley to comfortably see it out for their ninth win of the campaign.