Crewe youth team win shoot-out 3-0 after entertaining 2-2 draw with Preston.
Brighton-born goalkeeper Liam Matthews was the Youth Cup hero for Crewe Alexandra as they eventually defeated a spirited Preston North End side 3-0 on penalties. A thrilling Youth Cup tie ended 1-1 after 90 minutes and 2-2 after extra-time before the drama of a shoot-out.
Matthews was outstanding in the shoot-out saving from Preston’s captain Bradley Roscoe, Sean Whelan and Adam Joseph Robinson. Although Joe Howell struck our first penalty high over the crossbar, both defenders Toby Mullarkey and Alex captain Joe Kearns slotted home their spot-kicks to allow substitute Tom Lowery to covert the winning penalty.
minute lead through winger Liam O’Neill’s expertly taken volley past Russ Dalton at the far post. thCrewe took a 35
Andre Brown had forced the Preston stopper into an early save and O’Neill must have thought he had given Crewe the lead on 25 minutes when his close range shot was somehow cleared from the line from the covering Clive Smith.
Centre-back Toby Mullarkey also headed an O’Neill corner down and into the side netting before the break though.
Preston also had their chances in the first half with a Luke Pritchard corner sailing over almost everyone to strike the far post and the same player hit a free kick wide of the mark from a good position.
They ended the first period with Adam James Robinson shooting straight at the well positioned Matthews.
The visitors certainly improved in the second period and took the game by the scruff of the neck.
Crewe's Oliver Finney had an early effort pushed away to safety by the excellent Dalton and Brown also tested the agile Preston goalkeeper.
Pritchard again clipped the woodwork straight from an in swinging corner before they deservedly equalised on 69 minutes through a stunning strike from full-back Sean Whelan. The advanced defender shot through a mass of bodies from 25 yards to give Matthews little chance of saving it.
Preston grew in confidence and appeared the more likely side to go on and win the Cup tie. Matthews did well to deny Robinson with his legs and the hard working Eddie-Louis Dsane was a menace up front with his eagerness to run in behind.
Pritchard had the best chance to win the game in normal time for North End when he put clean through but he dragged his shot wastefully wide.
Crewe had to wait until the final minute to conjure up their best chance with Dalton reacting quickly to prevent a deflection from Josh Sampson past him.
Dsane had an early chance in the first period of extra-time after he had run in behind the Crewe defence but again Matthews saved well.
Five minutes into extra-time, Brown got the sight of goal he had been craving all night and he confidently shot across goal and into the net to put Crewe back in front.
Four minutes later, Charlie Kirk had a chance to clinch it after being put through by the impressive O’Neill but Dalton got the slightest of touches to somehow take it past the post.
Preston hit back in the dying seconds of the first period after conceding a free-kick from 25 yards out. Robinson hit his shot on target, Matthews could only push it out and as they rushed in, Roscoe tapped home from close range for 2-2.
With just 15 minutes left in a gripping cup-tie, Kirk curled one wide and Lowery went even closer with a shot that just drifted away from the top corner. Joe Howell curled a late effort wide as Crewe grew stronger in the final stages as we went in search of a late winner.