Max Clayton hits a first half treble as Crewe win 5-0 at Newcastle Town
Youngster Max Clayton hit a superb first half hat-trick as Crewe Alexandra continued their pre-season preparations with a 5-0 win at Newcastle Town. The club’s England youth international hit a hat-trick to take his personal tally over the summer to four goals and enhance his own chances of starting the opening day of the season against Rotherham.
Clayton’s thunderous shot from outside of the penalty area was comfortably the best goal of the evening, but his close range header was a superbly worked team goal that saw both centre-halves Mark Ellis and Harry Davis create a much simpler poacher –like finish for a vibrant Clayton.
Ellis headed home an excellent cross from new boy Lee Molyneux, before Vadaine Oliver once again showed his prowess in the air by leaping and directing a Kelvin Mellor cross into the opposite corner in the 67th minute.
Clayton was certainly in the mood for goals and it was the lively teenager registering the first shot on the Newcastle Town goal within the first couple of minutes. Within six minutes, the 18-year-old striker had collected a pass on the edge of the box before cracking an unstoppable shot in off the under the crossbar. It was a wonderful shot that demonstrated his ability to score from long-range as well.
Ellis rose highest after 10 minutes to head home a wonderfully delivered cross from Molyneux, who swapped wings frequently during the first period. There was certainly fluency to Crewe’s play with Byron Moore moving into undetected positions and Ryan Colclough playing off the front in support of the movement of Clayton. Molyneux showed the ability of his left foot and delivery and Abdul Osman was back in central midfield to add some bite and leadership as captain on the night.
Michael West grew in stature during the game as the other central midfield player and the tightness of Ellis and Davis at the back meant that Alan Martin had very little to do during his 45 minute stint. Steve Phillips had little to do himself during the second period with Thierry Audel and Ellis in front of him.
Ellis and Davis then combined in the air inside the box to provide the alert Clayton with a simple nod home after 18 minutes. It was well worked and Davis especially did tremendously well to spot Clayton and adjust to head the ball back to him from the by-line.
The football continued to be excellent from Crewe with Moore going close and Davis unfortunate to see his header cleared from the line. Clayton skilfully back healed Molyneux in but his firm drive was well held before Clayton was close to sealing a hat-trick with a shot that rebounded back off the Newcastle post.
Clayton’s personal treble didn’t take long to arrive though when he cleverly met a ball to flick it home. He again showed great awareness inside the box to make it 4-0.
Molyneux was after his first Crewe goal and he curled a free-kick just over before Moore saw another effort just clear the far post after Colclough had appeared to have been tripped inside the box.
The changes occurred at the break again with Steve Davis making five. Phillips was given 45 minutes in goal, with Audel, Liam Nolan, Jon Guthrie and Oliver all coming on.
Ellis went close to getting his second goal early on in the second half but he just hesitated to take the opportunity first time, instead taking it on his chest first before Colclough and Osman were rested for trialist Sam Winnall and Ollie Turton.
Mellor was the creator supreme for the fifth and final goal on 67 minutes. The full-back's forceful run saw him hit the by-line and clip a near perfect cross for Vadaine to jump and head back into the opposite corner.
There were later run-outs for trialists Ademola and Green and the supporters saved a really nice reception for the return of Adam Dugdale in a Crewe shirt. That was the highlight of the night and the fact that Clayton had packed his shooting boots.