Alex Morris says youngsters will learn after being taken right to the wire by North End.
Youth team manager Alex Morris says his young players will have learned a valuable lesson following their penalty shoot-out win over a spirited Preston North End side in the first round of the FA Youth Cup.
A captivating tie ended 2-2 after extra-time before goalkeeper Liam Mathews saved three penalities in the shoot-out to see Crewe through to round two to take on either Abbey Hey or York City. Alex substitute Tom Lowery kept his nerve to fire home the decisive penalty in a 3-0 victory thanks to Matthews’ heroics.
After guiding the youngsters through a topsy-turvy encounter, Morris told crewealex.net: “It was a roller coaster night of emotions but the most important thing was that won the game in the end and got through.
“Whilst, the Academy games on a Saturday are really about their development and progression as footballers, you do want to win in the Youth Cup and play with style. We live to fight another day in the Youth Cup and it is another chance for our players to gain the experience of playing at the Stadium. It also gives our supporters a chance to see the young players coming through.
“I thought we were excellent in the first half. We played some terrific football and created some good chances but only had the one goal to show for it. That’s football and we warned them at half-time that Preston would get after us and try and get back into the game.
“They did that and we didn’t mentally cope with that. That is something we will have to learn from and I wouldn’t say we were lucky, more relived to take it into extra-time.
“We had the chance to regroup and get them back to what we wanted hem to do and I thought we were stronger in extra-time. We were disappointed to hear the whistle to take it through to penalties.”
Morris understandably praised the goalkeeping heroics of Matthews, who redeemed himself after his handling error allowed Preston to score their second equaliser on the night.
Alex told Crewe Alex Player: "Liam made a mistake and he would be the first to admit that, but these things happen in football. It was an individual error but he certainly redeemed himself in the shoot-out. He did super.
“We researched their penalities and Preston have been involved in a shoot-out already this season. We gave Liam that information but it was still up to him to judge which way they would go and he managed to guess right every time.”
More FA Youth Cup reaction on Crewe Alex Player. Click here to view Alex Morris' post match reaction.