Crewe Alexandra comfortably negotiated the Preliminary Round of the Cheshire Senior Cup thanks to 6-0 victory over Cheadle Town this evening. Striker Lewis Reilly hit a second half hat-trick with fellow Academy graduates, Oli Finney, Tom Lowery and full-back Travis Johnson also on target.
Alex Morris named a strong side to give the majority of our reserve players’ game time and an opportunity to impress watching first-team manager David Artell.
Crewe made a perfect start when netting the first goal after just four minutes. Josh Lundstram tussled to win back possession in the Crewe half of the pitch and he quickly released Alex Nicholls in a pocket of space. Nicholls timed his pass into the supportive Oli Finney to perfection and he sent his low drive past Daniel Whiting in the Cheadle goal.
To their credit, Cheadle reacted well to conceding early and only a smart save by the legs of David Richards prevented Rhys Webb from equalising after he had gotten free of the Crewe back four.
Crewe continued to dominate the possession stakes and went in search of further goals. Lowery spun and shot over the top of the crossbar and the busy midfielder also dragged one wide after picking up a clever pull back from Finney.
Lowery’s persistence to get into the opposition box finally paid off in the 24th minute, as his positive run saw him rewarded with a close range tap-in past a helpless Whiting.
Morris’ side continued to press to try and add more goals before the interval with Nicholls just unable to reach a tempting cross across the six yard box from Kevin O’Connor and the busy Whiting saving superbly to deny both Nicholls and Reilly with his feet.
At the other end, the lively Webb tried his luck with an ambitious shot from 25 yards but it was far too close to Richards, who made a simple save.
The second half began with a quick free-kick from Crewe nearly catching Cheadle asleep but Luke Offord’s low strike was pushed out by Whiting.
Captain on the night, Michael Raynes was unfortunate not to get something on a wicked corner from Finney before Crewe extended their lead on 58 minutes. Offord played a splendid through ball for Nicholls to run on to and he so unselfishly rolled a pass over for Reilly to tap home into an empty net as the helpless Whiting was left exposed.
The fourth goal came just minutes later with Whiting actually making a rare mistake on the night. He let a low shot from Travis Johnson to go through him for 4-0.
He made amends though moments later to save from Finney after Reilly had cleverly deceived everyone at a free-kick to slide him in down the side. It was another good save.
Crewe did open up the visitors again on 66 minutes with Nicholls slipping Lowery in behind. The midfielder took the pass in his stride to round the Cheadle goalkeeper and he somehow kept his feet under severe pressure to roll it across for Reilly for another simple finish.
It was the same type of goal for his hat-trick with Lowery doing superbly in the build up again to find Finney and his low cross made it a straight forward finish for Reilly.
The busy Cheadle keeper made fine saves to deny Josh Lundstram and Reilly dragged a chance of a personal fourth goal just wide. There was still time for Whiting to save again from Lundstram and in the follow up, sub Heath was denied on the goal line for 7-0.