Young element to Crewe side as they win fairly comfortable at the Lyme Valley
Crewe Alexandra’s latest pre-season friendly at Newcastle Town’s Lyme Valley Stadium saw Steve Davis’ considerably younger side win 3-0 thanks to goals from Chris Atkinson and Liam O’Neill sandwiched in between a well taken finish from trialist Dom Brennan.
Crewe dominated the majority of the possession throughout the game but just failed to register that killer pass or clinical finish to make the scoreline even more flattering. Newcastle were forced to defend in numbers, making it difficult for the Crewe youngsters to penetrate in the final third but it was still a good run-out and test for some of the club’s lesser experienced players with Callum Saunders and Andre Brown posing the threat in the attack.
New signing David Fox was given his 45 minutes in a Crewe shirt and his experience in possession and ability to spot a forward run was notable in the first half. Despite only appearing for the first half, Fox was voted the sponsors Man-of-the-Match.
His link up play with Atkinson was good and he found the runs of Saunders in behind on more than one occasion. There was also a first pre-season appearance for Harry Davis and Perry Ng after they missed the club’s opening two encounters at Congleton and Alsager. Davis cruised through his first 45 minutes without any trouble and the Alex defence remained strong with our trialist goalkeeper never troubled on the night.
Saunders had the first opportunity to score the first goal in the opening two minutes after he was slipped through on goal by Atkinson, but the Welsh youngster was foiled by the onrushing Newcastle goalkeeper Danny Read. Saunders also volleyed over the bar after being picked out superbly by Fox.
Saunders also latched onto a through ball from Baillie but after a clever run in behind, he couldn’t generate enough power with his finish to trouble Read.
Atkinson opened the scoring on 22 minutes with a splendid drive from 25 yards out, just minutes after he had registered another shot on target that on this occasion had drawn a good save from Read. It was a wonderful strike from the Alex midfielder and he and Fox continued to boss the midfield area. Atkinson had an attempted lob blocked by the covering Newcastle defender Matt Lowe.
Brennan showed some neat close control entering the Newcastle box before he fired over the bar before the striker from Quorn FC made it 2-0 four minutes before the break. Fox laid off possession for Atkinson, who quickly found the supportive Baillie on the right and his instant pass into Brennan was tucked home.
Davis and Fox made way for Toby Mullarkey and Ryan Wintle for the second half but Crewe’s possession football continued. Brown soon Saunders inside the box and his low cross across the six yard box only need a definite touch for 3-0.
Wintle curled an effort wide and Baillie went even closer with a powerful drive that flew just wide of the far post.
Crewe continued to press looking for more goals but just lacked that quality to unlock the packed Newcastle defence. Wintle curled another effort straight at Read before the lively Atkinson forced the Newcastle goalkeeper into a decent tip over after he had found room to run onto a low cross.
The pressure did continue from the Railwaymen but they were left frustrated that the next goal never materialised until the dying minutes.
Saunders shot one into the side netting and had another it appeared, unfairly chalked off for offside as he tapped home into the net from no more than two yards out. He looked to have to run from an onside position.
A fine passing move did result in goal number three on virtually the final whistle. Crewe kept the ball well, looking for the right opening and Wintle showed his creativity by threatening a perfect pass for Liam O’Neill to confidently slot home.
Crewe: Trialist, Baillie, NG, Guthrie, Davis (Mullarkey), Fox (Wintle), Atkinson, Howell (O’Neill), Brown, Trialist, Saunders