Crewe: Garratt, Ng, Davis, Nugent, Bakayogo, Hollands (Kirk, 78), Ainley, Cooper, Kiwomya, Lowe (c) (Saunders, 16), Udoh (Lowery, 62)
Unused Subs: Richards, Guthrie, Wintle, Finney
Attendance: 929 (74 Chesterfield)
Crewe Alexandra have failed to qualify from the Group Stage of the Checkatrade Trophy after Chesterfield inflicted a 2-0 defeat.
Jay O’Shea fired Chesterfield in front after 23 minutes after a flowing move around the Crewe penalty area and the visitors sealed the victory with a late penalty, with Conor Dimaio slotting it past Ben Garratt.
Crewe had some chances to stay in the tie with winger Alex Kiwoyma placing a cross agonisingly close to the goal-line and Callum Saunders went down under a challenge from Dimaio but experienced referee Roger East waved away our appeals.
Danny Hollands also headed our best chance of the game over the crossbar from George Cooper’s excellent free-kick. Crewe were also dealt a blow with captain Ryan Lowe limping off with an ankle injury.
With injuries ruling out defender Oliver Turton and forward Chris Dagnall, manager Steve Davis was forced into a couple of changes for the visit of Chesterfield in the Checkatrade Trophy.
After replacing Turton at Cheltenham, Perry NG started his second ever game at first-team level. Daniel Udoh started his third game for the club in the absence of Dagnall.
Jon Guthrie was granted a rest in place of Ben Nugent and Callum Ainley was given the nod with James Jones away on International duty with Scotland and Billy Bingham ruled out with a niggling calf strain.
Crewe Alexandra made a bright start to the proceedings with our best outlet Zoumana Bakayogo eager to get forward at any given opportunity. He made a telling contribution in the opening five minutes and some good link up play between Ryan Lowe and Alex Kiwoyma saw us get behind for the first time but George Cooper volleyed wide of the target.
After a promising start, Crewe were dealt a major blow when the experienced Lowe limped out of action. The captain had received a hefty knock on his ankle and was unable to continue after receiving some attention. He was replaced by Callum Saunders.
Bakayogo continued to try and conjured something up from the left and he drilled a shot into the mid-drift of goalkeeper Lloyd Allinson.
Chesterfield began to impose themselves on the game and after NG was cautioned for a foul on winger Reece Mitchell, Jay O’Shea gave the visitors the lead. Danny Wilson’s side kept good possession in and around the Crewe penalty area and after good work from Rai Simons, Jay’ O’Shea guided a superb shot past Ben Garratt from the edge of the penalty area.
The opening goal certainly installed some more confidence into the visitors and Kristian Dennis was unfortunate not to reach a dangerous cross from Simons. Dennis was at full stretch but just couldn’t reach it.
Crewe continued to press aiming to find an equaliser and there was a strong shout for a penalty when Callum Saunders appeared to be shoved over by Dimaio but the referee was right on the spot to wave away the strong appeals. Saunders had a late chance at the far post but was edged out of it by the Chesterfield defenders.
Reece Mitchell was booked for a trip on his opposite number Cooper. The Crewe winger began to have a stronger influence on the game and after shooting over he began our main goal threat in the absence of Lowe.
Crewe began the second half as stronger as the first and a superb crossfield pass from Davis found Kiwomya in space and his pass into Ainley, saw him turn sharply inside the box but his low cross was behind for an early corner.
Moments later a quick free-kick from Kiwomya found Ainley again but on this occasion he couldn’t keep his shot down enough to trouble Allinson.
Crewe were enjoying their best spell of the game and the introduction of the industrious Tom Lowery for Udoh certainly helped. The diminutive midfielder was eager to get on the ball and try and find a pass in behind a stubborn Chesterfield defence. The change saw the pacy Kiwomya move up front to partner Saunders.
Crewe’s best chance of the entire 90 minutes, saw midfielder Hollands head over the bar from close range after another superb delivery from Cooper. Another excellent cross from the in-form winger only needed a touch but no-one took a gamble.
A powerful shot from Cooper was also blocked by the head of Ian Evatt before Kiwoyma created a great chance after rushing through to take the ball beyond Allinson. The on-loan Chelsea winger was forced wide but he still managed to get a great ball across the six yard box but again Crewe didn’t have too many bodies in the box for a possible tap-in.
Cooper shot at the Chesterfield goalkeeper before Chesterfield introduced a flurry of subs, including the experienced Ritchie Humphries and the man who would later win the penalty Ricky German.
Crewe also made a change with Kirk replacing Hollands. Saunders couldn’t quite take down a through ball from Kirk before Chesterfield sealed the tie with a penalty. German twisted his way through the Alex defence before being felled by NG. Dimaio stepped up to slot home past Garratt.
The Alex kept going but the only chance we had to make the tie interesting in the final few minutes saw the hard working Bakayogo drag a late shot wide of the target after another run forward.
View extended match highlights of the tie below