Wintle and Cooper score twice in eight-goal thriller
George Cooper and Ryan Wintle both scored twice as Crewe Alexandra’s Development squad defeated Harry Kewell’s Watford youngsters in an eight-goal thriller at the Alexandra Stadium. Crewe eventually ran off out 5-3 winners with Marcus Haber also nodding home a Cooper corner to open the scoring.
Watford had led 2-1 at half-time but Crewe took more control in the second half to go 4-2 up before the visitors made it a dramatic finish with Dennon Lewis slotting past Dave Richards.
Wintle sealed the win with a powerful drive in the final couple of minutes after Cooper had initially hit his free-kick into the Watford wall.
After Wintle had a shot pushed behind by Rene Gilmartin, Haber gave Crewe Alexandra the lead after 9 minutes, nodding home a Cooper corner from the right hand side.
Watford’s equaliser came via a wide deflection off the Crewe Alexandra captain on the day Jon Guthrie and they soon took the lead with Michael Folivi gliding past a couple of challenges before slotting past Richards.
The young Hornets could have gone further ahead at the beginning of the second half but Bernard Mensah could only poke a low free-kick from George Byers straight at the Crewe goalkeeper.
Crewe improved in the second half and deservedly drew level after a flowing passing move saw Haber break down the left hand side and retain possession through Callum Ainley and Joe Howell. The ball was finally switched to the right hand side and full-back James Baillie teed up Wintle for a shot from the edge of the box. His drive took a deflection en route to give Gilmartin no chance.
The triangle of Ainley, Wintle and Cooper grew in confidence and their movement won the game. Ainley produced the run and pass of the game to unlock the Watford defence to allow Cooper to break the offside trap and place his finish beyond Gilmartin for 3-2 and moments later they combined again but Cooper’s shot was blocked. In the follow up, Kearns had a powerful shot pushed away.
The impressive Ainley then put substitute Liam O’Neill through on goal but his low drive was saved by the legs of the busier Watford stopper.
Ainley again turned provider to play Cooper in once again. Wintle initially won possession from the Watford forward Alex Jukubiak to feed Ainley and his instant outside of the foot pass was perfectly weighted to send Cooper free and he made no mistake again for 4-2.
Crewe were cruising to a comfortable victory until Lewis slotted home to make it 4-3, but that edginess was taken away by Wintle’s second goal in the closing minutes.