Alex through after 4-1 win
Crewe Alexandra booked their place in round two of the FA Cup after a relatively comfortable 4-1 win over League Two side Wycombe Wanderers. The Railwaymen had to come from a goal behind again though after a goalkeeping error from goalkeeper Alan Martin. The Scottish goalkeeper let a long-range effort from Matthew Spring past him after just 13 minutes, but his team-mates responded magnificently well to lead at the break thanks to goals from Mathias Pogba and Mark Ellis.
Crewe stepped up a gear in the second half and classy long range efforts from Chuks Aneke and Luke Murphy rounded off a comfortable day’s work for Crewe. It could have been more than the four goals that were scored with Harry Davis having a penalty saved and Pogba missing a glorious chance from close range. Crewe are in the draw for the next round and will be ball number 27.
Crewe Alexandra manager Steve Davis made one change from the side that narrowly lost to Yeovil Town last weekend with a fit-again Abdul Osman coming into the side for youngster Oliver Turton. Osman partnered captain Luke Murphy in midfield with Michael West and Byron Moore on the flanks.
Crewe made a really bright start to the proceedings and if Byron Moore had anticipated an early opportunity then it could have bene a dream start. Pogba then forced a save from the Wycombe goalkeeper Jordan Archer. It came as a result of some outstanding build up play involving Murphy, winger Michael West and Chuks Aneke. The on-loan youngster from Arsenal quickly found Pogba and his shot drew a fine save from Archer.
The visitors lost their experienced captain Gary Doherty early on with Richard Wogan replacing him. Matt Tootle whistled one wide after a forceful run from Moore. It was Crewe on the front foot so it was a surprise when Wycombe took a 13th minute lead.
Wycombe virtually scored with their first genuine attack. Crewe’s passing out of defence had been sloppy for a few minutes beforehand and had invited some pressure but there didn’t appear to be to too much danger when Spring unleashed a straight forward shot from 25 yards out. Martin looked to have it comfortably covered but the ball zipped past him. It was a rare mistake from the Alex stopper but we responded positively.
West nearly applied a tap in after a low cross from Moore dipped in front of Archer and at the other end, the Wycombe front line just needed to apply a touch to a dangerously low cross from Bruno Andrade. If it had gone 2-0, Crewe could have had a trickier afternoon.
Pogba deservedly drew us level on 19 minutes. Moore was involved again and after Aneke had applied a touch, Pogba bundled the ball over the goal line for his first goal since Brentford away in late August. It was his fifth goal of the season and puts him as our leading scorer.
West had a cross come shot tipped over by Archer and from the resulting corner, Pogba headed straight at Archer.
Martin was called upon to save at the feet of Andrade and Spring drove another long range effort wide. Our former forward, Joel Grant spun and shot just wide.
At the other end, Chuks Aneke shot wide to set an early mark just after the half an hour mark. Murphy needed treatment after being caught by Spring and the same player was booked in the opening minutes of the second half for a similar challenge on Osman.
Another superb run from Pogba saw him lay on a good chance for Murphy but his low shot was blocked by a covering Sam Wood.
Crewe finally made the pressure count on 40 minutes when a persistent Ellis forced the ball home from close range after his initial header had been saved. The Crewe defenders had stayed up from Murphy’s cross and finished emphatically from close range on the volley for his second goal since his summer move from Torquay.
The goal had come with Wycombe down to ten men due to an injury to Antony Stewart and their caretaker manager Gareth Ainsworth was obviously frustrated that he couldn’t get his replacement Kortney Hause on the pitch to even things up.
Straight from the restart, Pogba stole possession and fed Murphy and his clever pass released Moore through the middle but he was denied a goal thanks to the reactions of Archer. Murphy also shot over from 25 yards out after West had hit by-line to cross.
The second half started with that early booking for Spring for his foul on Osman. Spring was then caught out by Pogba and a neat one-two between the Crewe forwards saw Archer push away another decent effort from the lively Aneke. He doesn’t run around particularly, but the Arsenal youngster certainly threatens the goal and his weight of pass is exceptional.
Crewe should have had the tie killed off on 52 minutes when the bustling Pogba was hauled down by Dave Winfield. The Wycombe defender had got himself into a muddle, going through the player and making no contact the ball whatsoever. It was an obvious penalty but Harry Davis, usually so assured from the spot, saw his effort pushed away by Archer. It remained 2-1 and Crewe's dismal run of penalty taking continues.
Ellis headed a dangerous cross from Andrade away from underneath the bar but in truth Alan Martin was hardly tested in the second half. Charles Dunne did curl one over before Crewe began to really dominate.
Aneke ended the tie with another outstanding strike after some fine work from Moore and the supporting Tootle down the left wing. Aneke got the ball out of his feet before driving a shot into the top corner from just outside the box. Archer had no chance and it was another special and important goal from the England youth international.
Moore, in search of a goal had an effort saved from the busy Archer before Brandon Daniels replaced West. Andrade was cautioned for catching the excellent Murphy before Mellor tried to get in on the goalscoring act but had a shot deflected wide for a corner.
After a superb run and shot, Tootle was unlucky to see his goal bound effort pushed away from danger. He must have thought he had scored when the ball left his boot.
Murphy’s 25 yard shot had too much power and accuracy though to make it 4-1 and seal a memorable Cup win for the Alex. The skipper unleashed a great shot after Moore and Tootle had combined well again to find him in space.
Osman, who has just returned from an ankle injury, was given a well-deserved rest with young Turton on in his place and being his neat and tidy self in there. There was also a late run out for Gregor Robertson in place of Aneke. Daniels was also shockingly booked for diving after appearing to be fouled.
Robertson did create a late chance for Pogba, but the unlucky Crewe forward somehow cleared the top corner on the turn from no more than three yards out. He knows he should have scored.
Full-back Mellor should maybe have scored as well but he miss-kicked his effort at the far post, as Crewe went in search of late goals.