Victory for the Alex on the annual Weaver Stadium tripNantwich Town 1-4 Crewe Alexandra
Crewe Alexandra enjoyed their annual pre-season trip down the road to near neighbours Nantwich Town by running out 4-1 winners in a useful exercise ahead of the upcoming 2015/16 season.
Harry Davis gave Crewe the lead early on but The Dabbers equalised after George Ray headed through his own net. Second half goals from Lauri Dalla Valle, George Cooper and Callum Saunders secured the victory, Crewe’s fourth in four pre-season games against local non-league sides.
Alex manager Steve Davis opted for wholesale changes from the side that comfortably beat Newcastle Town 3-0 on Friday evening, continuing his policy of utilising the whole squad in this pre-season programme.
New midfield trio David Fox, Billy Bingham, and Adam King all started with Dalla Valle, Cooper and Brad Inman lining up in the attacking positions.
Nantwich started brightly, but were soon behind following the Alex’s first attack. A cleverly worked corner routine on seven minutes left Cooper with the opportunity. His effort on the angle thumped the near post, but skipper Harry Davis was on hand stab in the rebound.
Two minutes later and it was Cooper again causing the Dabbers problems. His audacious chip from 20-yards caught Terry Smith out and bounced agonisingly off the crossbar.
The Alex dominated possession for the majority of the opening half, but the Dabbers were gifted a leveller on 33 minutes. Matt Bell’s inswinging free-kick found the head of Alex defender George Ray, but he could only steer his attempted clearance into the bottom corner.
This gave the hosts an added shot of confidence and they should’ve gone ahead three minutes later. Lewis Short broke away down the left and put in a dinked cross for an unmarked Matty Kosylo to head at goal, but Ben Garratt was on hand to pull off a magnificent save,
Four minutes shy of half time, The Dabbers had another chance to go 2-1 up, Bingham’s misplaced pass allowed the lively Kosylo to run on the breakaway but his resulting shot was a comfortable one for Garratt
Crewe flew out of the blocks for the second-half and almost regained the lead three times in the opening six minutes. First Cooper ran and cut-inside before rolling his shot wide at the near post.
Inman then went close with a snap-shot he smashed over the top from 20-yards before a lovely flowing interchange gave King a chance, but he rifled his effort just over.
Crewe kept up the intensity and did grab their goal on 55 minutes, Inman going on a mazy run down the left before slotting across the keeper for Dalla Valle to tap in.
The Alex almost gifted Nantwich a second equaliser on 59 minutes, Garratt miscuing his clearance straight to Kosylo, but the winger curled his short marginally wide.
Entering the final 15 minutes of the friendly and the Alex turned it up a notch to take the game away from Nantwich.
On 76 minutes, George Cooper made it 3-1, collecting Chris Atkinson’s masterful pass before holding his nerve and rifling high into the roof of the net.
Atkinson himself should’ve made it four two minutes later in a similar position, but he couldn’t keep his effort underneath the cross bar.
However, a minute later and it was four. Dabbers substitute keeper Kyrystian Burzynski was mugged in possession by Alex sub Callum Saunders and the young forward completed the simple task of rolling the ball home.
As they had for much of the game, the Alex knocked the ball about, retaining possession confidently to see the game out and clinch the victory.
Crewe: Garratt, Turton, Davis, Ray, Trialist, Fox, Bingham, King, Dalla Valle, Inman, Cooper
Subs: Guthrie, Atkinson, Baillie, Saunders, Wintle, Brown, Harrison