Aneke brace inspires Crewe to another win in Kent
The supremely in-form Chuks Aneke inspired Crewe Alexandra to a fourth successive win at Gillingham’s Priestfield Stadium. The on-loan Arsenal starlet scored in both halves and helped create a decisive third for Mathias Pogba with the help of his close pal Uche Ikpeazu. Crewe always looked a threat on the break, especially in the second period and with the same front four that last played together at Bradford City, firing again; we deservedly departed Kent with three points again.
Aneke scored early with a tidy finish before Amine Linganzi headed the Gills level following a short corner. Crewe regained the lead thanks to Aneke’s splendid header from a Matt Tootle cross before Mathias Pogba secured the priceless three points with a skilful flick after more good work from Ikpeazu.
The only blemish on the game, was a late red card for Anthony Grant following two quick fire yellow cards for dissent and then kicking the ball away.
December against Shrewsbury Town. Dugdale partnered Mark Ellis in the centre of the Crewe defence in Kent.stWith Harry Davis ruled out for the season due to a knee injury, Adam Dugdale was recalled to the starting line-up for his first start since 21
Steve Davis also made one other change from the side that drew 1-1 with Oldham last weekend. The on-loan winger Cameron Park dropped to the substitutes’ bench with a fully fit Uche Ikpeazu returning to the Crewe line-up for the first time since his brace away at Bradford City. Mathias Pogba moved to the right wing.
Some early combination play between Chuks Aneke and left wide man Bradden Inman saw Crewe make some promising progress into the Gillingham penalty area but Inman’s low cross was intercepted and on the counter attack, Cody McDonald dragged his shot wide of the mark after linking with Bayo Akinfenwa.
Crewe took a fourth minute lead with the recalled Ikpeazu creating the opener with a forceful run down the Gillingham left. The on-loan Watford striker made great strides up against Joe Martin and his cut back from the by-line found Anthony Grant on the edge of the penalty area. The midfielder didn’t catch his shot as well as he would have liked but after taking a deflection it fell invitingly into the path of Aneke.
goal of an impressive campaign. It was another calm finish from the former England junior to give Crewe an ideal start at the Priestfield Stadium.thThe on-loan Arsenal starlet took one touch to get the ball under his spell and another to guide it past the on-rushing Stuart Nelson for his 16
The home side thought they had hit back almost immediately when Michael Harriman lashed a loose ball into an unguarded net but Crewe goalkeeper Ben Garratt had certainly been fouled by the robust Akinfenwa as they both challenged for the cross. The Gills striker didn’t complain too much in regards to the decision.
An eventful opening saw Ikpeazu booked for throwing the ball away and Inman having another shot from distance deflected behind for a corner. From the resulting set play, delivered by full-back John Guthrie, Ikpeazu went awfully close to toe poking a close range effort past a grounded Nelson, but the Gillingham goalkeeper just about grabbed it on the goalline.
Crewe had to cope with a couple of early corners from Myles Weston but Ikpeazu cut out of the first and Garratt got hold off the second after appearing to collide with the post as he rushed to get their first. With the home side looking to get on level terms, McDonald flicked a header wide and Akinfenwa slid in trying to reach a low cross from Harriman.
On 26 minutes, Garratt was perhaps a bit fortunate not to have been penalised for handling outside of his box as he raced out to beat McDonald to a long through ball. It was certainly close to the edge of the 18-yard box but the assistant referee waved away McDonald’s strong appeal.
Gillingham’s pressure finally paid off just before the half an hour mark. Ellis gave away an avoidable corner when he got his clearance all wrong. He miss-controlled his attempted volley to concede it cheaply and before we had chance to re-organise, the Gills took a short corner to Elliott Hewitt and his far post cross found Amine Linganzi to head home the equaliser.
Inman went close twice to restoring Crewe’s advantage though. His first effort had to be pushed behind for a corner by Nelson and the Gillingham goalkeeper had to be well placed to grab a well struck second effort after Aneke had found him nicely with a lay off.
At the other end, Weston shot straight at Garratt from distance before McDonald’s acrobatic effort from another short corner ended up in the side netting from a tight angle.
McDonald also had a snap shot from the edge of the box that wasn’t going to trouble Garratt on this particular occasion. The Crewe goalkeeper was called upon to tip a dropping high ball over his own crossbar though before Aneke so nearly found a forward run by Inman but there was just too much on the final pass.
With the first half drawing to a close, George Evans also shot wastefully over the crossbar after more good interchange of passing involving Inman and Aneke.
The second half began with a splendid cross field pass from captain Matt Tootle to find Inman on the opposite flank and after a passage of keep ball involving Grant and the supportive Guthrie, the ball eventually found its way to Evans, whose forceful shot was blocked.
Crewe were soon defending corners and throw-ins from both sides again and Akinfenwa headed straight at Garratt after acquiring a yard of space.
goal in all competitions. It was such a well crafted goal and expertly finished by the man in form.thOn 53 minutes, Crewe regained the lead through their main man again Chuks Aneke. Tootle delivered an inch perfect cross, drilled towards the head of the on-loan Arsenal youngster and he directed his header perfectly past Nelson for his second goal of the afternoon and for his 17
Moments later, a well placed shot from Evans had to be pushed away by a well placed Nelson as Crewe threatened to install a two-goal cushion.
At the other end of the pitch, the Gills captain Adam Barrett headed a Martin free-kick straight into the gloves of Garratt.
Just after the hour mark, Peter Taylor made a double substitution with Charlie Lee and Bradley Dack replacing Steve Gregory and Harriman.
From another Guthrie corner, Ikpeazu got slightly in the way of the incoming Ellis and Martin also had to apply a testing touch to take away an Inman cross away from the head of Ikpeazu. Moments later, with the game really opening up, Inman couldn’t quite pick out Pogba inside a crowded box.
Linganzi was booked for catching Inman awfully late and the Crewe wide man needed treatment. When play resumed, Barrett showed some great close control for a centre-half to create some space for himself on the edge of the box and his shot was just inches wide.
On 73 minutes, the substitute Charlie Lee burst through a couple of challenges from Evans and Tootle but the covering Dugdale did superbly well to get across and make a timely block. There were some strong appeals from the Gills players after the loose ball flicked up but the referee saw no hand.
Almost instantly, a long ball played up the field, seemed to get held up in the wind to allow Ikpeazu to nip past Nelson but from an acute angle, the powerful striker couldn't direct it into the empty net. Ellis also got above a corner from Evans, before he was replaced by Abdul Osman.
Gillingham continued to be a threat with diagonal crosses into our box, especially with a growing wind that made conditions more difficult as the afternoon wore on.
Taylor’s last throw of the dice saw Gills goalscorer Linganzi make way for Joe Pigott. Within seconds, Crewe went 3-1 ahead. Aneke showed tremendous power and desire to leave two players in his wake before slipping Ikpeazu in again down the left channel of the box. Ikpeazu did superbly well again to pick out the supportive Mathias Pogba and his ambitious flick from behind himself nestled in the back of the Gillingham net.
With a two goal advantage entering the final six minutes of the game, Crewe needed to keep their composure. An overzealous Osman was cautioned though for lunging into a tackle inside the Gillingham penalty area.
In the hope of getting back into the game, McDonald shot harmlessly wide from a free-kick. With the time ticking away, Grant talked himself into a booking and then moments later a red card for kicking the ball away. It left Crewe a man short for the five minutes of stoppage time but with Garratt making a fantastic save to deny McDonald and Kelvin Mellor introduced for Ikpeazu, Crewe held out.