Max Clayton on target twice to give Crewe friendly win
A well taken brace from Max Clayton sealed another pre-season victory for Crewe Alexandra at Stafford Rangers. The England youth international finished off two one-one-one situations after being sent clear by Ollie Turton in the first half and substitute Fraser Murdoch in the second period.
Stafford substitute Jack Lees scored a late goal with the final touch of the game with a powerful shot that gave Ben Garratt little chance.
In what was another useful run out for the Alex, albeit on a scorched and difficult playing surface, Clayton was denied by the legs of the former Nantwich goalkeeper Jon Brain after he was slotted in again by a fit-again Luke Giverin.
There were more positives with Liam Nolan again imposing in midfield, Ollie Turton growing in stature and centre-halves George Ray and Adam Dugdale hardly ruffled. Clayton showed his ability to finish with real assurance and AJ Leitch-Smith and Gregor Robertson got useful game time.
Young Murdoch was a handful when he came on and Jon Guthrie didn’t put a foot too wrong at left-back.
In the early period, Clayton was denied an early shot at goal after good work down the left flank from Guthrie and Leitch-Smith headed a yard wide from a corner. The opening goal came after 16 minutes, with Clayton racing on to a through ball from Turton to finish with confidence.
Clayton who was sharp and looking for goals then had another effort deflected through to Brain.
In reply, Alex keeper Alan Martin had to be alert to grasp a miss hit free kick from Sean Kinsella and he had to tip over another great effort from Michael Carr after he had spotted the Alex keeper had strayed from his line.
Clayton's finishing was the real difference though and after seeing Brain save one effort with his legs, he made no mistake when presented with a similar opportunity to seal the win. Murdoch announced his introduction by battling for possession and then feeding his strike partner with an excellent through ball.
Stafford worked hard and arguably deserve their late goal with Lees smashing an unstoppable shot on the run past a helpless Garratt in the final minute.