Crewe: Garratt, Turton, Davis, Guthrie, Bakayogo, Bingham, Jones, Cooper (Kirk, 73), Kiwomya, Lowe (c), Dagnall
Unused Subs: Richards, Ray, Nugent, Saunders, Udoh, Ainley
Goals: Dagnall (31), Kiwomya (45), Cooper (56)
Attendance: 3,482 (195)
Chris Dagnall, Alex Kiwomya & George Cooper struck in an electric first 60 minute performance to send the Alex on their way, only to be pegged back to 3-3 after Magnay’s first half wonder goal then Amond and Magnay with two in two minutes to snatch a share of the spoils.
Steve Davis made a single change from the side that drew against Portsmouth on Saturday, and it proved an inspired one, bring Kiwomya into the side for his first start in place of Charlie Kirk.
Despite Crewe’s overall dominance in the first period, Pools’ star man Billy Paynter missed a gilt-edge first chance on the game on eight minutes. After using his strength to hold off Harry Davis to go in one-on-one, he preceded to chip Garratt but got it all wrong and missed the target with his effort.
Crewe then began to get into their rhythm and George Cooper was the width of the post away from opening the scoring after 14 minutes, striking the base of the upright on his right-foot at the near post after Ryan Lowe had fed him in.
Six minutes later and it was Cooper again in the thick of it, side-footing Zoumana Bakayogo’s cross over the top.
The Alex continued to press and were rewarded on 31 minutes with a lovely deft touch and goal from new-boy Chris Dagnall for his first goal for the Club. Kiwomya did well down the left to use his speed, get to the by-line & cross low for Daggers at the near-post to re-direct the cross into the far corner.
With the bit between their teeth, Crewe continued to press and Dagnall’s 36th minute shot from 25-yards took a deflection and flew over the top for a corner.
But then came a suckerpunch out of the blue – and what a suckerpunch it was.
From nothing on 42 minutes, Pools right-back Carl Magnay took it from the right-touchline inside onto his left-foot and from 25-yards, curled and absolute worldy into the far top corner, leaving Garratt with absolutely no chance
With the scores looking likely to stay level at half-time, Crewe’s flying Chelsea loan winger had antother trick up his sleeve on the brink of the break. Collecting Bakayogo’s low drive cross from the left inside the box, he turned, picked his spot and cushioned a lovely side-footer into the corner to restore The Alex’s lead heading into the interval.
Crewe started the second period again on the front foot, but James Jones’ loose pass on the edge of the Crewe box gave Padraig Amond a chance to shoot first time, but he luckily screwed his effort well wide.
56 minutes on the clock and it was 3-1 Crewe, Lowe & Daggers exchanged passes and worked hard to keep the ball before laying back for Cooper who delivered a devilish in-swinging cross that zipped past everybody and into the far corner.
Hartlepool stunned the home crowd on 73 minutes with a rare attack, the whole stadium though Amond was offside when he was sent through one-on-one, but the linesman’s flag stayed down & the striker poked past Garratt for 3-2.
Two minutes later and the Alex were stunned again with Pools finding the equaliser. A free-kick was swung deep to the back post and Magnay was left unmarked to steer his header past Garratt.
Just like that Hartlepool were in control and they almost took the lead for the first time on 78 minutes, Lewis Alessandra cutting into the box from the left & letting one fly that Garratt was forced to get down low to and beat away.
Crewe rallied and regained control in the last ten minutes, Jones sending Carson sprawling down to his left to make a save before Lowe and Bingham both had efforts sail over the bar.
Alessandra had an injury time free-kick deflected wide for Pools, but the match ended in a draw.