Crewe Alexandra’s participation in the Capital One Cup ended at Gigg Lane after we conceded three goals for the second time in four days. Not even a goal and assist from the on-loan Chuks Aneke was enough to keep the Railwaymen in the League Cup competition, as goals from Bury’s Shaun Beeley, a penalty from Shaun Harrad and another from centre-half Richard Hinds saw us exit at the first round stage.
Crewe were excellent in the opening ten minutes and could have been better off than the early goal Aneke had given us, but with long throws and set plays causing us trouble, it was the Shakers who led at the break and they then increased that advantage with Hinds’ tap in just a couple of minutes into the second half. Crewe did get a grip of the possession stakes when chasing the game, but only had a Harry Davis penalty to show for our efforts, as Bury held out to go through.
Steve Davis was forced into one change from the Crewe Alexandra side that opened the season with a 3-3 draw against Rotherham United at the weekend. Winger Byron Moore was ruled out with a tight groin, so there was a first start for recent loan capture Chuks Aneke. The Arsenal starlet operated behind AJ Leitch-Smith with Max Clayton coming in from the left hand side.
A positive start from Crewe at Gigg Lane saw George Ray confidently step up from the back and thread a ball into Aneke. His twist and turn gave him enough time and space to slide AJ Leitch-Smith in behind the Bury back line but from a narrow angle his low shot was well held by Rob Lainton.
Just like Saturday, the Alex took an early lead after just five minutes. A flowing move down the right hand side saw Kelvin Mellor find the run of Leitch-Smith into the channel and the striker’s low cross deceived two Bury defenders to land at the feet of Aneke. He calmly lifted his shot into the roof of the net via clipping the underside of the bar.
A minute later, Aneke had another sight of the Bury goal from the edge of the penalty area but his shot was blocked by Richard Hinds. It perhaps should have been 2-0 after just seven minutes. Again, Mellor did exceedingly well to provide a cross and an alert Ryan Colclough stuck out a boot but his poked effort just cleared the left hand post. It was as close as you could be.
Bury did respond well to that early pressure with winger Craig Jones providing a cross for Euan Holden and his powerful shot had to be pushed away by the agile Alan Martin. With Crewe not quite able to clear their lines, Andy Proctor fired over with the follow up.
A lively Clayton then pulled a shot wide of the target before he was tripped by Shaun Beeley as he appeared the favourite to reach Aneke’s pass first. The full-back was the first player to be booked.
Bury hit back after just 13 minutes of play with Beeley erasing his shaky start with a wonderfully struck shot past Martin. The ball had dropped invitingly to him from another long throw-in into our penalty area.
Martin then had to push over a free kick from Tom Soares and then Crewe were relieved that Ashley Grimes couldn’t get his close range header on target after an unmarked Soares had headed back across goal from a corner.
The Bury pressure continued and duly paid off on 27 minutes. A poor back pass from Colclough only found Richard Hinds inside our own penalty area and in an attempt to cover, Grant cut across the defender and the referee, on advice of his assistant, pointed to the penalty spot. Grant was cautioned for pulling Hinds back and Shaun Harrad smashed home the resultant penalty.
Another long throw-in caused mayhem inside the Crewe box and after a period of the ball being in the air, Craig Jones shot just over the crossbar. Grimes then tried to catch Martin out with a curling effort from 25 yards that just cleared his left hand post.
After such a promising and positive start to the first ten minutes, it was hard to understand why Crewe couldn’t maintain that for the next half an hour or so. As an attacking force, our chances dried up and it was Crewe waiting the whistle for a break and a chance to re-organise.
Just when Crewe should have come out on the front foot, Bury increased their lead further just a couple of minutes into the second period. A corner from Jones was knocked back across goal by Proctor and there was Hinds in enough space to poke the ball past Martin. Crewe were slipping out of the Capital One Cup at the first hurdle.
Some composed play from Clayton did see the Alex move up the pitch and some exchanges of passes involving Aneke and Leitch-Smith allowed Aneke to get the ball out of his feet on the edge of the box, but his curling shot wasn’t troubling Lainton on this occasion. Moments later, Leitch-Smith stabbed a shot into the side netting.
The trying Aneke didn’t quite connect with his shot from 20 yards and it was easily collected by the Bury goalkeeper.
Crewe were enjoying the better of the possession but not creating too many clear-cut chances so in the 65th minute, Vadaine Oliver replaced AJ Leitch-Smith. Ollie Turton also came on for Grant.
Bury’s boss Kevin Blackwell made a change also with Anton Forrester replacing Grimes.
A flowing move from the Railwaymen unlocked the Bury defence after 73 minutes and gave us a lifeline via our second penalty of the season. Osman battled for possession to feed Aneke and his instant pass released Colclough through on goal. He beat Lainton to the pass and was sent flying into the air to earn the spot kick. The Bury goalkeeper was booked and Harry Davis stepped up again to put the Shakers goalkeeper the wrong way for 3-2.
Following Crewe’s second goal, Bury introduced the fresher legs of John Rooney for Harrad. Soares fired a yard wide of the mark after a free-kick was played out to him on the right hand side.
On 82 minutes, some great football saw Clayton produce another piece of tidy skill inside the penalty area to lay back a chance for Aneke but on this occasion he couldn’t keep his shot down.
To be fair, he had the close intentions of Hinds to deal with but he will still be disappointed not to have to hit the target. Moments later, Turton did well to turn a dangerous looking cross across the six yard box but there was no-one there to turn it home.
With the minutes ticking away, a tiring Aneke was replaced by Michael West but that clear cut chance never materialised to force extra-time.
Crewe: Martin, Mellor, Tootle, Ray, Davis, Osman, Grant (Turton), Colclough, Aneke (West), Clayton, Leitch-Smith (Oliver)
Not used: Phillips, Ellis, Nolan, Audel
Crowd: 2,146 (away 339)