Crewe suffer heavy home defeats at the hands of a clinical MK Dons
Crewe Alexandra suffered their first home defeat since October as Karl Robinson’s impressive side inflicted a 5-0 defeat on the Railwaymen this afternoon. It was the Dons first ever triumph at the Alexandra Stadium as the on-loan Devante Cole scored a first half brace. Sandwiched in between those two goals from Cole was a one-on-one finish from Dean Bowditch. 3-0 down before the break ended the contest but to their credit Crewe continued to try and play their football.
Despite trying to live with the outstanding side in Sky Bet League One and their expansive passing game, Crewe’s kept going right to the end but couldn’t create a host of chances to really be in the contest.
Carl Baker and arguably the best performer on the pitch on the day, Daniel Powell, add two more goals in the second period with Baker also clipping the top of the crossbar with a clever chip.
Crewe Alexandra’s best opportunity saw Nicky Ajose bustle his way through the MK Dons rearguard late on to force David Martin into a smart save. Alan Tate also had a header cleared off the line by Kyle McFazdean after he had stolen a yard of space from a George Cooper corner.
MK Dons 5-0 win in South Cheshire and with Swindon failing to win this afternoon, MK Dons have moved to the top of the table and on this showing must be the favourites to go on to lift the League One title. Crewe remain just above the relegation zone.
With Uche Ikpeazu’s sudden departure to Doncaster Rovers at the beginning of the week, Steve Davis was forced into one change up front with the Finn Lauri Dalla Valle making his first start since returning to the club.
In the early exchanges, Crewe conjured up some half chances with George Ray heading a yard wide and Dalle Valle doing likewise from a superb delivery from Jamie Ness.
minute. thMK Dons were soon in their stride though and when they broke through the likes of the pacey Powell and teenager Dele Alli, they were on our back five almost at an instant. Baker shot wide after a forceful run from Powell before they went and took the lead in the 12
Bowditch was played through to go one-on-one with Ben Garratt. The Alex goalkeeper stood tall to make a fine save but the ball spun out invitingly to Cole and his shot struck the retreating Tate before spinning beyond him. Tate deserved better for his effort to get the ball away the line, but the spin took it away from him for the opening goal.
Bowditch shot straight at Ben Garratt after good work from his strike partner Cole before he raced through to make it 2-0 on 28 minutes. Baker held off the intentions of James Jones and Anthony Grant in central midfield to release Bowditch through on Ben Garratt and he calmly lobbed it over the helpless Alex goalkeeper.
Almost immediately, George Ray had to be replaced for Anthony Stewart after suffering a muscle strain.
Crewe continued to try and create some openings by usually hit a brick wall of defenders. That final ball was just lacking and Ajose was on the receiving end of a few physical challenges as he tried to make an impact on the game. McFazdean was booked for persistent fouls on the Crewe forward and teenager Alli was cautioned for catching Jones pretty high.
From another Ness free-kick, Stewart forced Martin into a save as his powerful header tested him inside a crowded box. The MK Dons goalkeeper managed to push it away from danger.
Cole sealed the points really on 38 minutes when he gratefully tapped home at the far post after the impressive Powell glided past Leigh to lay on his second goal for him.
The first half was marred with a few physical tackles and the MK Dons captain Ray Lewington appearing to catch young James Baillie with a stray arm. The referee didn’t see it. Baillie failed to re-appear for the second half but that was more tactical with Crewe switching to 4-4-2 with George Cooper adding some width.
The first half ended with Dalle Valle striking a powerful shot over the crossbar from fairly close range after Ajose had showed a sublime touch to find him inside the box.
With Cooper offering some width, Crewe continued to press forward and look for a lifeline but faced a well drilled MK Dons defence that didn’t give much up. Cooper got an early flick to a Ness cross to win a corner and from Cooper’s delivery from the left hand side, Harry Davis headed against McFazdean after getting across him at the near post.
Cole headed just over from a Lewington cross from the left hand side and after twisting and turning on the edge of the penalty area, Baker shot inches wide. The visitors were rapid on the counter attack though and with Cole and Bowdtich on the pitch, their movement did cause us problems all afternoon.
Cole, who is on-loan from Manchester City and had his father Andy watching in the crowd made way for Samir Carruthers.
A superb run from Alli nearly saw him put Bowditch through on goal before a header down from Dalle Valle couldn’t quite drop to the supportive Jones. It was the story of our afternoon.
With 18 minutes left, Baker made it 4-0. He was allowed to carry the ball far too far into the Crewe penalty area before curling it beyond Garratt. Baker was also unlucky to see an almost perfect lob clip the crossbar.
A late break from Cooper promised much but his low cross aimed for Ajose was cut out by Anthony Kay.
The MK Dons made two late substitutions with our former loanee striker Tom Hitchcock and Johnson Clarke-Harris coming on for the visitors.
Crewe also made a change with Brad Inman replacing the hard working Dalla Valle.
Powell deserved to get on the score sheet himself and he duly did in the final minute, drilling a powerful shot past Garratt after Crewe had failed to clear their lines when there had been opportunity to do so.