Young Crewe Alex XI come out on top against village sideKirby Muxloe 0-3 Crewe
A young, experimental Crewe Alexandra XI came out on top against Kirby Muxloe thanks to two early goals from Joe Howell and George Cooper before a second-half contribution from Chris Atkinson.
Neil Baker & James Collins took charge of the final friendly before the 2015/16 season, taking with them a youthful Alex side to the village team in Leicestershire to mark the opening of their new stand.
It didn’t take the Alex long to take the lead, midfielder Joe Howell picking his spot from the right-hand corner on the edge of the box and drifting a cheeky chip past the despairing keeper into the far corner.
Five minutes later and Crewe had a two goal advantage, the inventive George Cooper picking his spot from 20-yards and driving in a low effort into the bottom corner.
Eventually, the home side did find their feet and should’ve pulled a goal back on 21 minutes, the number nine beautifully controlling a diagonal cross on the chest only to volley his shot just over the top.
The hosts continued to crank up the pressure and when the number eight tackled Chris Atkinson in the centre of the park, he ran on and cracked a wild 35-yarder off the base of the post with Richards beaten.
The Alex stepped up the pace again in the second period and twice could’ve extended their lead from a Cooper dead-ball situation. His first free-kick on 50 minutes was tipped marvellously by the keeper onto the crossbar with his second effort just six minutes later leaving the keeper stranded as it sailed just a yard wide.
After a relatively quiet second period, The Alex appeared to step It up a gear heading into the final stages and Chris Atkinson was rewarded with a well worked goal on 74 minutes. He played a neat one-two with Howell before stroking confidently past the keeper on the angle.
The hosts continued to tire and Callum Saunders almost made it four with seven minutes remaining, driving an effort in on the angle but the goalkeeper did well to dive and turn his effort around the post as the fixture ended 3-0 to The Alex.
Crewe: Richards, Wintle, Mullarkey, Ray (Trialist, 45), Kearns, O’Neill, Atkinson, Howell, Cooper, Brown (Trialist, 63), Saunders
Unused Subs: Trialist