Alex slip to defeat in testing run-out to strong Wolves outfit.
Crewe 0-2 Wolves
Line-Up: Garratt (Richards, 45), Turton, Guthrie, Davis (Ng, 45), Bakayogo (Trialist, 45), Smith (Jones, 45), Bingham (Wintle, 63), Ainley (Trialist, 63), Cooper (Kirk, 63), Lowe (Saunders, 45), Dagnall (Udoh, 63)
Unused Subs: Lowery, Finney, Dale, Pickering
Crewe Alexandra slipped to their first pre-season defeat of the season as a strong Wolverhampton Wanderers ran out 2-0 winners thanks to a goal in each half from Dominic Iorfa and Joe Mason.
In bright sunshine, Crewe Alexandra played some sharp and incisive football in the early exchanges.
Recent loan signing Liam Smith made his debut for the club after joining from Newcastle United in the week and summer signings Ryan Lowe and Chris Dagnall once again formed the partnership up front. They were busy occupying defenders, chasing down and trying to combine. Dagnall nearly latched onto a long ball from Harry Davis but it just ran through to goalkeeper Carl Ikeme.
Defender Davis made his first start of the pre-season after overcoming a slight knock and he was handed the captain’s armband. He partnered Jon Guthrie at the back after Ben Nugent sustained a slight knee injury and George Ray was rested after playing 90 minutes at Kidsgrove Athletic.
Ben Garratt made a stunning early save to tip over a fine effort from James Henry after he had been found on the edge of the penalty area by the influential Kevin McDonald. From the resultant corner, Davis took it upon himself to clear with a header instead of perhaps living it for Garratt to come and collect and with Crewe failing to clear their lines properly, Joe Mason slipped in Dominic Iorfa and he guided his shot into the bottom right hand corner.
The confident full-back Iorfa soon embarked on a fantastic burst through the centre of the Crewe back-line and after he took on Davis with pace, his low shot was saved by the diving Garratt.
Dagnall threatened the Wolves goal after running in behind onto a lofted pass from Cooper but he was ruled offside. Callum Ainley had a powerful shot blocked on the edge of the penalty area before Wolves then broke with real purpose on the counter-attack from our corner. It soon developed into a 3v2 situation and the recovering Ollie Turton then slipped to leave Crewe really exposed. Garratt again did fantastically well to deny Jed Wallace.
A promising break from the Alex then saw Dagnall and Lowe combine but he just couldn’t quite guide his pass into the supportive Ainley and Ikeme collected it.
At the other end of the pitch with Wolves creating the better of the opportunities, Saville headed over from close range.
At the half time interval there was a flurry of substitutes with Dave Richards, Perry Ng, Callum Saunders, Matt Young and Daniel Udoh coming on. An early run from Cooper saw him earn a free-kick in a good position but one from the training ground didn’t come off.
Another switch break from the visitors should have resulted in a second goal after the impressive Wallace found James Henry but he shot wastefully over Richards’ crossbar.
Crewe Alexandra’s best chance of the game came after a fantastic move to unlock the Wolves back line. Dagnall unselfishly passed the ball over to Cooper but the winger didn’t connect as well as he would have liked and his shot was deflected behind for a corner.
Three more changes saw game time for Kirk, Wintle and Udoh. Ryan Jennings, formerly of Wigan impressed on trial.
Crewe tried to find an equaliser but Saunders had a shot blocked at the far post and then Perry Ng went close with a header from a corner.
Wolves sealed the pre-season win though in the final minute of play when a long clearance from goalkeeper Andy Longergan found Mason far too easily up the pitch and he raced clear before calmly lifting his shot over the onrushing Richards.