Crewe score four goals again in second friendly run-out
Crewe Alexandra scored four goals for a second time in three days to enjoy another run-out at our local neighbours Nantwich Town. Following on from a 4-0 victory at Norton United on Friday evening, first half goals from Brad Inman, Billy Waters, Mathias Pogba and a well executed header from Callum Saunders sealed a 4-1 win at the Weaver Stadium. Unsurprisingly the Dabbers goal was poached at close range by our former forward Steve Jones.
year.thThierry Audel started at the Weaver Stadium because George Ray was not to be risked after complaining of a tight groin following Friday’s game. Ben Garratt started in goal ahead of new signing Scott Shearer and his former coach Steve Phillips kept goal for Nantwich. Other former Crewe players, Andy White, Harry Clayton and Mat Bailey also featured in a friendly to kick-off Nantwich’s 130
It didn’t take Crewe too long to take the lead with Inman rolling a fourth minute shot past Phillips after good work from Waters and Pogba. Inman had originally started the attack as well by finding Waters with a wonderfully flighted pass. It was Inman’s second goal of pre-season.
Five minutes later, arguably Crewe’s best move of the entire match nearly resulted in a second goal. The Alex kept possession for a number of passes before Liam Nolan found the advanced Ollie Turton inside the penalty area. Turton, turned sharply enough under some pressure, but didn’t get hold of his shot as much as he would have wanted and Phillips collected it with relatively ease.
Nantwich always provide a level of competition though and they soon hit back through their former Northern Ireland International. Full-back White went on a rampaging run down the left before releasing Max Harrop and although his first cross was blocked by James Baillie, his second found its way into Jones and he calmly slotted into the opposite corner for a debut goal.
Crewe went close again with Inman inches wide with a shot from distance and Phillips standing up well to deny both Waters and a follow up from Grant.
At the other end, Garratt had to be alert to a dipping corner from Jones but he sorted his feet out to push it over the top again.
Grant was rather bizarrely asked to leave the pitch on 25 minutes after the referee went over to speak to manager Steve Davis. The referee took exception to something Grant had said to him after being fouled. Grant had taken two or three late challenges and was merely after some protection. It was never the type of game though and the official’s reaction towards Grant was over the top for a pre-season friendly. Davis duly obliged though and took off Grant for trialist Adam Reed.
Waters fired Crewe back into the lead on 28 minutes after he demonstrated some tidy footwork on the edge of the Nantwich box.
That was quickly followed by a superb third from Pogba. Inman was tripped some 20 yards from goal and although Phillips made a good save to deny Pogba’s powerful effort, he had no chance with the instant follow-up that zipped into the bottom corner. Pogba entertained us with not only his brutal finish but also a celebratory dance.
Crewe were well command of the game as a contest and Adam Dugdale would have been disappointed not to have made it 4-1 by the break after planting a close range header wide of the mark.
Steve Davis rotated his team for the second half with only Audel, Turton and Reed remaining on.
One of the substitutes’ Lee Molyneux then produced an excellent cross to pick out the lively Callum Saunders and he planted his diving header past the despairing dive of Phillips’ replacement Terry Smith.
Nantwich though continued to try and ask questions of the Crewe backline and the impressive White found Clayton inside the six-yard box but he didn’t a solid contact on the cross and could only screw it wide.
A probing run from Molyneux drew a smart one hand save from Smith and in the follow up Saunders shot narrowly wide of the target.
Chances became limited in the second half but there were still useful performances from youngsters such as George Cooper, Perry Ng, James Jones and Saunders.
Saunders, the young Wales forward was lively with his movement throughout and could have had a hat-trick but for him uncharacteristically snatching at a couple of chances.
Molyneux warmed the gloves of Smith directly from a free-kick and he also fired over after finding himself in space. James Jones nearly scored a spectacular ‘Ronaldo-like’ free-kick but he planted it just wide of the post.