Dicko's last minute goal harsh on the Alex
A last minute goal from Nouha Dicko snatched a pre-season win for the current League One champions Wolverhampton Wanderers after he pounced on a long run and outmuscle the ball from the on rushing Scott Shearer and slot into an empty net. The 1-0 defeat was a bit harsh on Crewe who created arguably the better of the chances in the 90 minute run-out.
Of course, pre-season results do not count for too much but manager Steve Davis will be disappointed to have a lost a game that didn’t have too much between the two sides through a last minute mistake. Genuine chances were few and far between but Crewe did hit the woodwork twice through George Ray and Oliver Turton.
Crewe Alexandra boss Steve Davis gave trialist Cameron Lancaster another opportunity to show what he could do. The former Tottenham Hotspur trainee began up front in what was a strong Crewe line-up. New signing Chris Atkinson also started against the League One Champions in centre midfield.
In stifling conditions at Gresty Road both sides were eager to get the ball down and play on what appeared a much improved playing surface. Lancaster was denied an early sight of the Wolverhampton Wanderers goal when the visiting goalkeeper Carl Ikeme read the situation perfectly to rush from his goal and head into touch.
The good football continued with Crewe producing some decent one and two touch passing at times but the chances at either end were limited.
Wolves’ winger Rajiv Van La Parra did produce an excellent shot that whistled just over Scott Shearer’s far corner after he had skilfully nipped the ball beyond the retreating Billy Waters. George Ray was also called upon to produce a perfectly timed challenge to prevent Michael Jacobs a run of Shearer’s goal.
The early exchanges came to an end with a much needed drinks break but when the play resumed it was Wolves looking the more likely side to open the scoring. A defensive mix-up saw Ray pass the ball back to Shearer but his kicked clearance when straight to Dave Edwards but after having a couple of touches to take him into the Crewe penalty area, his shot was blocked by the recovering Ray.
From the resultant corner, Leon Clarke’s flicked header was cleared off the line by captain Matt Tootle. It was the closest we had come to an opening goal.
At the other end, Billy Waters reached the by-line but his low cross evaded all the onrushing Crewe players.
The Alex midfield continued to work hard to contain the likes of the influential Kevin McDonald and Jacobs. Atkinson did register a shot on target after collecting a pass from Turton but it was easily collected by Ikeme. Turton then had his captain to thank for saving him after he had surrendered possession too cheaply and Wolves counter-attacked with real pace. Tootle read the situation superbly to manoeuvre La Parra away the goal.
Turton though was a threat going forward and after one effort whistle over, he did force Ikeme into a smart save with a powerful drive from 25 yards. The agile Wolves goalkeeper had to push it one handed over his crossbar.
From the resultant corner, George Ray rose highest to loop a header onto the Wolves crossbar but in fairness McDonald was underneath it to cover.
The second half saw Oliver replace Lancaster at the break and soon after Molyneux came on for Atkinson. Ray produced a superbly timed challenge to halt Leon Clarke in his wake before Waters fed the fresh Molyneux and he flashed a shot just wide of the far post.
Moments later, Turton went awfully close to breaking the deadlock when his shot from close range hit the underside of the crossbar and bounced to safety. It was the closet Crewe came to scoring.
Waters made way for a vibrant George Cooper and James Baillie replaced Dugdale with Audel moving into the centre.
Molyneux was a threat with another low drive from the edge of the box after move good play involving young Cooper and Tootle. The agile Ikeme got down superbly well to get a firm hand on it.
From a corner, Oliver shot into the floor and Audel couldn’t keep his follow up effort down. After another promising spell of possession, the advance Ray shot a yard wide from distance.
In reply, Wolves were not really testing Shearer on too many occasions but McDonald couldn’t keep a volley down from the edge of the box and James Henry shot straight down the throat of the Crewe goalkeeper.
The game as a contest had 0-0 written all over it but then Dicko reacted quickly to bundle his way past Shearer and he calmly rolled it into the empty net for the only goal of the game.