Former kid Hanley scores only goal of the game for Rovers
Former Crewe Alexandra youngster Grant Hanley headed home the only goal of the game as the Railwaymen slipped to their second defeat of pre-season. The Scotland International rose highest at a 10thminute corner from Jordan Rhodes to seal a friendly win.
Crewe could have salvaged a result in their latest warm up encounter in a hectic schedule with wingers Byron Moore and Ryan Colclough going close in the first half and the likes of captain for the evening Abdul Osman and young substitute Dom Smith in the second half.
A lively Mathias Pogba had an early shot that drifted well wide but the fit-again striker was linking up play well with his touch and awareness.
It would be the visitors though who took an early lead after 10 minutes via corner. Full-back Martin Olsson burst into the Crewe penalty to originally win it off of the legs of George Ray. Jordan Rhodes hung it up and our former Academy youngster Grant Hanley powered it home his header from fairly close range. Kelvin Mellor did his best to try and smuggle it from the line, but he couldn’t quite keep it out.
In an attempt to draw level, Pogba swung the ball out wide to Ryan Colclough and his skill saw him drift past two challenges before he dragged his near post shot wide of the target.
On 16 minutes, the opposite winger Byron Moore produced a forceful run from deep and his powerful shot from 20 yards had to pushed away for a corner by an alert Jake Kean. The corner then dropped at the feet of Colclough and he was rather unfortunate that his well struck shot wasn’t on target after it found its way through a crowd of bodies.
Crewe were passing the ball well and kept possession and the two efforts from the Alex wingers certainly lifted the crowd. Blackburn’s main threat was coming down the Alex right hand with the pace of Olsson (before he was forced off with an injury) and the skill and creativity of Ruben Rochina.
Colclough believed he should have been awarded a penalty after he seemed to reach the ball ahead of the covering Alex Marrow but referee Bratt was on the spot and wasn’t interested. Colclough’s deep free-kick to the far post found Pogba but he couldn’t keep his header down enough to test Kean.
Blackburn continued to be a threat with the tricky Alan Judge, formerly of Notts County whistling one just wide of the crossbar and an acrobatic effort from Rochina hit his own player before going behind for a Crewe goal kick.
Marrow was replaced by Fabio Nunes and the most impressive player of the first period, Rochina, hit a late moving shot that forced Steve Phillips to parry out into his six-yard box. Rhodes was offside anyway before Ray completed the clearance.
The second half saw the introduced Alan Martin make two smart saves to deny Rhodes. The striker showed good strength and power to get past Thierry Audel but Martin saved his defender with his angles.
At the other end, Pogba tried to outmuscle his way past Scott Dann but the ball squeaked through to the Blackburn goalkeeper Kean.
Crewe were still pressing looking for that equalising goal but on occasions, the space was too tight and too many longer balls were not accurate enough into the forward players. Pogba did extremely well again to provide the supportive Matt Tootle with a shooting chance but the defender couldn’t get his effort on target.
A flurry of Crewe subs saw Ellis, Dugdale, Turton and Guthrie replace Audel, Ray, Tootle and West.
Pogba again latched onto a pass from Max Clayton and after tricking his way past two defenders his cut back should have seen a newly introduced Turton hit it over with his very first touch.
The best chance of the game fell to captain Osman from a Colclough cross but his close range header cleared the crossbar.
A quick throw from Kelvin Mellor down the line found Moore and his superb cross found Max Clayton who was only denied a certain goal from a busy Kean. That was Moore’s last contribution as he was replaced by Billy Waters. Pogba also made way for Liam Nolan.
An impressive Turton turned and got a shot off. Colclough twisted and turned but couldn’t find enough space to get a shot off.
Late on, Steve Davis introduced youth players Smith, James Jones and Fraser Murdoch and smith was so unlucky not to see his late header salvage a draw in injury time.