Experimental Alex side run-out narrow winners at the Novus StadiumKidsgrove 1-2 Crewe
A predominantly young Crewe Alex side secured a 2-1 victory over Kidsgrove Athletic to win a sixth straight pre-season game.
Callum Saunders gave the Alex the lead and Perry Ng won the game after Joe Woolley had equalised for Athletic.
Marcus Haber & Chris Atkinson were the senior members of the starting XI, the former making his first start since returning to Crewe from Canada Gold Cup action.
Saunders gave Crewe the lead on 13 minutes with the first real chance of the game, reacting quickest to the loose ball to prod home after goalkeeper Harry Pilkington had saved Haber's shot.
Athletic responded stoutly and almost levelled in the 24th minute but Anthony Malbon skewed his shot wide when given space on the edge of the Alex box.
Five minutes later and Haber once again had a good chance to score, but he rattled his shot against the side-netting, and the Alex were made to pay just three minutes later. Joe Woolley was awarded too much space when a right-flank driven cross entered the box and the Athletic player finished coolly into the corner.
That was that for action until the game sprung into life in the last 25 minutes. First, on 66 minutes, Saunders' snap-shot from 15-yards was well saved by Pilkington. Then a minute later, Kidsgrove left-back Jack Sherratt bombed into the box and fired a rasping low drive just wide of the far post.
69 minutes on the clock and Crewe had regained their lead. A cleverly worked short corner routine picked out Ainley, who in turn crossed low for centre-back Perry Ng who steered his shot into the bottom corner for 2-1.
The final two clear-cut opportunities of the game fell to the Alex as the hosts began to tire. Callum Ainley did well to wriggle past two defenders and fire in a shot on 74 minutes, but Pilkington was on hand to turn his effort over and finally Andre Brown should've made the game safe at 3-1 but he ballooned his effort well over the bar when fed through one-on-one.
Crewe: Trialist, Baillie, Ng, Mullarkey, Dowsett, Wintle, Howell, Atkinson (Ainley, 45), Saunders, Brown, Haber (Murdoch, 60)