Crewe Alexandra suffered their biggest defeat of the season as Graham Westley’s Peterborough side ran out 5-1 winners at Gresty Road.
After Jon Taylor had given the Posh an early lead, the visitors’ killed the game as a contest within the opening three minutes of the second half with Conor Washington and Jermaine Anderson scoring the first of his two goals via a deflection.
After being served by the excellent Erhun Oztumer, Lee Angol confidently side footed home to make it 4-0.
Crewe Alexandra’s man-of-the-match Ryan Colclough scored a superb consolation goal after turning and firing home via a post from a throw-in but the Peterborough midfielder Jermaine Anderson then scored arguably the goal of the game from the edge of the Crewe penalty area. His turn and shot past Ben Garratt was unstoppable.
It certainly became damage limitation time for the Railwaymen, who were for the first time beaten heavily this season. We have been in every other game but the two goals straight after half-time made it almost impossible for us to remain in the contest this afternoon and boss Steve Davis was angered by the way we surrendered a little in the second period.
Steve Davis was able to welcome back Marcus Haber from International duty with Canada and he decided to partner his target man with young Callum Saunders. Adam King dropped down to the substitutes’ bench alongside Harry Wilson, who returned to the Crewe Alexandra squad after he scored for the Wales Under-21s last week.
There was also a change at the back with Stephen Kingsley replacing the unfortunate Jon Guthrie. The Alex boss was obviously looking for greater service into the forward players with the more attack-minded Kingsley named and both wide men Ryan Colclough and Brad Inman starting in a more traditional 4-4-2.
Following an early shot over from distance from midfielder Billy Bingham, the visitors’ dominated the opening ten minutes and look threatening with the busy Jon Taylor and diminutive Turk Erhun Oztumer. Crewe found it difficult to deal with their pace and directness and Bingham had to show his defensive qualities when blocking a shot from Oztumer.
After Ollie Turton couldn’t apply a positive header back to his goalkeeper Ben Garratt, the Peterborough striker Conor Washington took advantage of some indecisiveness to get to the ball first and Garratt had to rush off his line to make a smart save. In the follow up, George Ray threw himself in front of a shot from Taylor.
Peterborough continued to press us back in that opening spell and it was no great surprise when they took the lead through the impressive Taylor. Anderson was involved in the build-up and his pass inside the box was collected and dispatched with real confidence by the former Shrewsbury Town winger.
Crewe made such a slow start to the opening 10 minutes that we found ourselves a goal behind and in truth Peterborough were looking a threat every time they broke at pace.
Bingham though forced Ben Alnwick into a save with a low drive from 25 yards out and the Peterborough goalkeeper did well to race out quickly to deny Saunders from reaching a long ball from captain Turton. He also did well to deny the young striker again after a clever through ball from Colclough.
Garratt was again kept busy by Taylor and Lee Angol fired over the top of the crossbar.
On 26 minutes Crewe conjured up their best chance of the first half as Colclough combined superbly with Inman. His low shot forced a good save from Alnwick at his near post.
After a slow start, the first half became a fairly even affair. Crewe protested after it appeared that Marcus Haber had been held at the far post by Almeida-Santos. The referee judged it a 50/50 contest and waved away our appeals.
When Saunders flicked on a ball through to Colclough, the winger tricked his way past a couple of challenges before he shot towards the near post rather than the far post and his effort nestled in the side netting.
A flick from Marcus Haber then released Saunders inside the box and after a swift turn, his shot just cleared the top left hand corner. It was a great effort from the Wales Under-21 striker.
After another pacey break from Taylor, he forced another save from Garratt and Chris Forrester forced the Crewe goalkeeper into a good save with an inventive poke from 25 yards out.
Other than the first ten minutes, Crewe appeared to be in the game, so that is why the opening three minutes of the second half was surprising.
Barely a minute after the restart, Washington pulled down a superb long ball from Anderson before rounding Garratt to slot the Posh 2-0 up. A tough task then became almost impossible just 60 seconds later when a long range effort from Anderson deflected off Ray to leave Garratt wrong footed.
Crewe were left shell-shocked and Angol made it 4-0 after 54 minutes, coolly slotting home his accurate shot past the helpless Garratt after he had been picked out by the playmaker Oztumer.
Garratt was forced to push over a firm shot from Forrester over his own crossbar before Steve Davis made his first change when replacing Haber for King. Crewe needed to close up shop and King’s legs certainly helped out in midfield. He was also booked for a reckless challenge on Michael Smith.
A slip from Nugent nearly allowed Santos to make it 5-0 but he was surprised that the ball dropped to him and couldn’t adjust his feet in time to make a positive contact infront of goal.
Colclough tried to keep himself going and he got his just reward on 65 minutes. He collected a throw in from Kingsley, allowed the ball to roll across his body before unleashing a shot that clipped the post on its way into the net. It was a fantastic shot to mark his fifth goal of the season.
Peterborough were certainly in no danger of letting their comfortable lead slip and they went in search of more goals. Oztumer fired just wide and Taylor fired high into the side netting before Anderson made it 5-1 with a smart shot on the turn from the edge of the box. The former Arsenal midfielder should have been taking the match ball home but he wasted a late header.
With the contest over, Crewe rested Colclough and Inman by bringing on Wintle and Wilson.
There was also a late introduction for our former trialist Souleymane Coulibaly but he only had one sight at the Crewe goal and he couldn’t quite wrap his foot around his shot and it sailed wide.