Crewe's starting XI all achieve 90 minutes in pre-season draw.
Altrincham 1-1 Crewe
Garratt, Turton, Bakayogo, Davis, Guthrie, Bingham, Jones, Cooper, Kirk, Dagnall, Lowe Crewe XI:
Crewe Alexandra’s latest pre-season encounter at Altrincham saw the starting XI all get a solid 90 minutes under their belts.
The game ended in a 1-1 draw with George Cooper glancing a header past Andy Dawber from a James Jones cross on 32 minutes, but the home side drew level inside three minutes after defender John Cyrus was granted too much space from a free-kick to powerfully head past Ben Garratt.
On his birthday, Crewe boss Steve Davis would not have been best pleased with the goal we conceded from the set-play nor with the other two opportunities the home side conjured up from crosses, but Crewe did create enough chances in the first period to have put the game out of sight.
Cooper fired another effort over the crossbar and Charlie Kirk was guilty of missing some decent openings during those first 45 minutes.Chances were few and far between for Dagnall and Lowe.
It proved to be another useful run out though with no players joining Liam Smith in the treatment room.
As expected, Steve Davis named a strong starting XI at Altrincham with Ryan Lowe again partnering Chris Dagnall up front and the in-form George Cooper retaining his position on the right wing. Defender Ben Nugent returned from injury to be named on the substitutes’ bench alongside new loan signing Alex Kiwomya.
George Cooper showed an early glimpse of his ability, when drifting away from full-back Callum Charlton and curling a shot into the gloves of the Altrincham goalkeeper Andy Dawber in the opening three minutes.
A probing pass from Captain Harry Davis found Cooper off the front and after carrying the ball towards the Altrincham penalty area, he slipped in Charlie Kirk perfectly, but his firm shot was blocked and spun away for a left hand corner.
On the 20 minute mark, Davis then found the willing runner Lowe down the Crewe right hand and his accurate cross was volleyed over by Kirk. Moments later, Bingham struck a wonderful pass to the onrushing Turton and his instant shot was pushed out by the well positioned Dawber.
The advanced Turton was again inside the penalty area to meet a clever flick on from Lowe, but again the Crewe right-back was denied by the Altrincham goalkeeper. He parried his well struck shot and the ball was cleared for another Crewe corner but no opportunity arose from the set-piece.
Another promising break from the Railwaymen then saw Dagnall roll the ball across the box for Kirk but the youngster didn’t make a clean enough connection to really trouble Dawber.
Crewe finally broke the deadlock on 32 minutes. Jones dinked a cross across the box and Cooper intelligently glanced a header beyond Dawber for his second goal of the pre-season following his well taken finish at Nantwich Town.
Kirk had an early chance to double our advantage as he raced into the Altrincham half of the pitch but his eventual shot was too easily gathered by the busier of the two goalkeeper.
To their credit the home side hit back just three minutes later to level the score at Moss Lane. Crewe didn’t organise themselves well enough from a James Lawrie free-kick and defender John Cyrus escaped his marker to head firmly past a helpless Ben Garratt. It was their first genuine effort on the Crewe goal.
Crewe should really have re-taken the lead on 40 minutes after some good approach play involving Cooper, Dagnall and Lowe. Lowe’s cross was cleared to James Jones, who had a shot blocked and then Cooper couldn’t keep the follow-up down enough to register his second goal of the night.
Crewe remained unchanged at the interval but Altrincham made three changes. One of those Alty subs, Alan Goodall had an early chance from a corner but he headed downwards instead of goalwards and a decent chance was lost.
Lowe’s first sight at goal saw his bending effort blocked by the outstretched leg of Sam Heathcote. The substitutes continued to flow with the home side making another double one just after the hour mark but Steve Davis resisted the temptation to make changes.
Crewe had another major let off from a set-play when a wicked free-kick delivery from Lawrie missed out the majority of the Alex defence but Craig Hobson couldn’t turn his effort on target to test Garratt.
At the other end of the pitch, a low and dangerous cross from Zoumana Bakayogo only needed a positive touch to cause the home side some real trouble. Unfortunately for the Alex his cross evaded a number of bodies.
With 12 minutes remaining, Dagnall won a free-kick some 25 yards from goal but Cooper’s effort was just too high to force the Altrincham goalkeeper into a meaningful save.
Dagnall had a late surge to get inside the box and Altrincham continued to load our box with high balls aimed at Garratt, but the defences stood firm.