Carlisle 0-2 Crewe
Crewe: Garratt, Turton, Ray (c), Nugent, Bakayogo, Jones, Bingham, Cooke , Cooper, Bowery (Wintle, 83), Dagnall (Ainley, 90)
Unused Subs: Dawber, Udoh, Ng, Dale, Finney
Goals: Cooke (34), Bowery (60)
Attendance: 4,695 (357 Crewe)
A quite brilliant display from George Cooper inspired Crewe Alexandra to a deserved win at Carlisle United.
The Academy graduate produced two game-changing assists to create a goal in the first half for Callum Cooke and a tap-in for Jordan Bowery in the second.
Cooper played a delightful one-two with the on-loan Cooke to open the scoring on 34 minutes and after our former player Shaun Miller had been red carded for a high and reckless challenge on Ollie Turton, he wrapped up the points with a superb moment of wing play on 60 minutes. He beat his man with ease to reach the by-line and rolled it over for Bowery to score his second goal for the club.
Crewe Alexandra boss David Artell named an unchanged side for the visit to Carlisle but there was a change in the match day squad after Alex Kiwoyma was ruled out due to illness. Striker Daniel Udoh, who recently returned from a loan spell at Solihull Moors, took his place on the substitutes’ bench.
The Carlisle boss Keith Curle named our former striker Shaun Miller in his starting line-up but our former midfield player James Bailey was suspended following his red card against Cambridge on 11th March.
Ahead of kick-off there was an impeccably observed one-minute silence to remember those who sadly died in the attack on Westminster last Wednesday.
Crewe Alexandra and more specifically our goalkeeper Ben Garratt was called into action in the opening few minutes of the game. In his defensive duties from a free-kick taken from the right hand side, Jordan Bowery inadvertently flicked a header towards his own goal and Garratt had to be alert to tip it over.
James Jones had Crewe’s first effort but his shot from 20 yards sailed over Mark Gillespie’s crossbar.
After a vibrant start from the home side, the Railwaymen began to enjoy better possession and after Chris Dagnall had managed to get the ball out of his feet and swing over a dangerous looking cross, his strike partner Bowery directed his header just wide of the post. Moments later, Dagnall was just beaten to a teasing ball in from Cooper by an alert Gillespie.
Ben Nugent and George Ray continued to get their heads on my most things being aimed at Proctor. Crewe lost Nugent for a short spell with a cut close to his eye, but after being patched up, he was able to continue with no problems.
Garratt was well positioned to make a shot from Luke Joyce from just outside of the penalty area look relatively easy. There was a bit of a lull in the Cumbrian sunshine but a good passage of football from the Alex resulted in Cooper having a snapshot over the bar. Dagnall had done well in the initial build up, to time his run and defeat the Carlisle offside trap down their left hand side.
An even better move from the Alex on 34 minutes then saw Cooke combine superbly well with Cooper and bury his shot past Gillespie for his third goal for the club. They played a splendid one-two together, with Cooper lifting a delightful ball into Cooke’s path and the on-loan Middlesbrough man made no mistake in tucking it home.
Carlisle almost hit back almost immediately, but Garratt did exceeding well to turn an effort from Shaun Miller behind for a corner.
A dangerous delivery from Jones’ free-kick evaded a cluster of bodies at the near post and Gillespie reacted well to push it clear of danger, as Crewe pressed looking for a second goal before the break. Crewe saw out the remaining few minutes and from a promising position inside the box, a cross from Cooper was just deflected away from falling to either Dagnall or Cooke.
Carlisle tried to get on the front foot at the beginning of the second half and after Jamie Devitt had managed to wriggle his way past Turton and Bingham, more through luck than judgement, his low cross was only cleared to Reggie Lambe and his shot was blocked.
Crewe started to pass the ball more freely again and after Turton got to a loose ball first, Shaun Miller lunged into a reckless tackle and caught the Crewe right back with his studs showing. Referee Nigel Miller quickly controlled a potential melee and then showed Miller a straight red card.
The former Crewe striker was close to the dugout and quickly made his way down the tunnel. After treatment, Turton was able to continue. He was lucky. The reaction of the Crewe players to the challenge said it all and Miller didn’t complain.
Keith Curle was forced into a change after Nicky Adams was forced off through injury on 56 minutes. Junior Joachim came on for his home debut.
After getting to grips with playing against ten men, Cooper unlocked the Carlisle defence with a fantastic run to the by-line. On the hour mark, he waltzed past Grainger before rolling the ball across the box and Bowery gleefully helped himself to his second goal for the club. It was probably one of the easiest goals of his career and he had Cooper to thank for placing it on a plate for him. It was brilliant stuff from the youngster.
Carlisle tried to hit back but Ray stood firm to take a shot from Devitt on the side of his head. Joyce also had a decent effort from 25 yards, but Garratt watched it well and had it covered.
Firmly in control, Crewe pressed looking for more goals but a decent effort from Jones was deflected over and from the resultant corner, Cooper fired over, much to his own annoyance.
At the other end, Nugent did fantastically well again to deny substitute George Waring a free run at goal by easing the ball out of play. Waring had just replaced Devitt. Garratt also stood firm to make a smart save from Proctor and Ray was on hand to hook the rebound away.
Another promising break, this time led by Bowery, saw him perfectly release Cooke, but he couldn’t quite find the final pass across the box to give Dagnall a tap-in. Moment later, Bowery and then Cooper both tried to find enough space to get a shot off but after being crowded out, Bowery teed up Jones on the edge of the box, but he dragged his shot just wide.
With the minutes ticking away, Ryan Wintle replaced the hard working Bowery. He had led the line with intelligence and a strong work ethic all afternoon.
A wonderful move on 86 minutes, should have seen Crewe extend their lead to three. The move was excellent, with a smart flick from Dagnall releasing Cooper again in the middle of the pitch. He slipped in Cook on goal but he was denied a second goal by a good save from Gillespie. The goalkeeper got enough on it to spin it wide.
Callum Ainley was given a late run out for Dagnall, as Crewe saw out the final few minutes of stoppage time.
View over 10 mins of HD highlights from the victory exclusively on Player HD below