Crewe: Richards, Johnson, O'Connor, Offord, Raynes, Nolan, Nicholls, Lundstram, Reilly, Linton, Adebisi
Crewe Alexandra Under 23's produced a commanding performance to dispose of Leeds United 3-1 & make it three victories in a row in the Professional Development League 2.
Malachi Linton, Alex Nicholls & a superb solo strike by Eddie Nolan clinched the victory, with a late consolation for Leeds from the head of sub Jack Clarke the only blotch on the copy book.
Fresh from beating both Nottingham Forest & Sheffield United 2-1, Alex Morris' side went into the game in confident fashion, buoyed too by the inclusion of several experienced pros including Kevin O'Connor & Michael Raynes as well as Nicholls & Nolan.
Crewe started the game in postive fashion & came close to an opener in the 18th minute, Whites keeper Jamal Blackman producing a fine one-handed save to keep out Nicholls' flicked header that looked destined for the bottom corner.
The opener came on the half hour, and it was fantastic pressing play throughout the team that forced it. Leeds were on the attack with a low cross that O'Connor cleared. Rio Adebisi stopped the ball from running out of play & produced a measured clearance down the touchline. Lewis Reilly beat his man to win the headed flick-on, then he & Luke Offord were on to the Leeds defender to close down, eventually blocking the attempted clearance into the path of Linton. On the angle, he measured up & fired a low strike into the bottom corner.
Confidence flowing, Crewe twice went close to extending their lead before the break & would've done so had it not been for Blackman.
First, he beat away Nicholl's powerful drive after Reilly fed him though, before reacting quickly to get down to save O'Connor's rasping drive from just outside the box after a corner was only partially cleared.
The Alex kept up the intensity after the break & Adebisi put a good chance wide at the back post from a dangerous Travis Johnson cross.
But the second goal did arrive moments later with 51 minutes on the clock, Nicholls driving on from midfield powerfully to the edge of the box before control a beautiful effort into the top corner.
The third Crewe goal seven minutes later was a thing of pure beauty - and from the most unlikely of sources!
Centre-half Eddie Nolan went up for a deep free-kick & found himself chasing the loose ball to the by-line. He jinked inside & out, leaving his man for dead before wrapping his foot around a sublime effort from the narrowest of angles that left Blackman rooted to the spot as the ball curled perfectly into the far top corner.
Table-topping Leeds then upped the tempo, but couldn't break through a stubborn Alex backline, that was until the 86th minute when a left wing cross resulted in Clarke getting up above O'Connor at the back post to head the consolation.
All-in-all a very good day at the office for Alex Morris side, who now have a two-week break before a trip to Hull City on Monday 19 November.
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