An overly young Crewe Alexandra Under 23 side recorded an impressive 1-0 victory over Birmingham City at Reaseheath.
Lewis Reilly headed the only goal of the game midway through the first half & the Alex defended resolutely throughout to record three points & the clean sheet.
Crewe were without any senior players other than Reilly - who was also brought off at half-time in a pre-planned switch. U23 regulars Oli Finney & Tommy Lowery were also missing due to expected involvement in the first team squad to face Manchester City U21s.
There were no trialists on show either - meaning Alex Morris' side were made up of four first year pros & four scholars.
The more U23 seasoned Blues came out the blocks quickly & put Crewe under early pressure, regualrly getting to the by-line for cut backs.
But it was Crewe on the break who almost took the lead on 12 minutes, Connor Heath chipping over the onrushing goalkeeper from the edge of the box, only to see his strike bounce back off the post.
It was another counter on 21 minutes that saw the Alex take the lead. Good work by Malachi Linton led to the ball finding Joe Lynch out on the left touchline. He whipped over a delightful cross right onto the head of Reilly who found the corner with his well-placed header.
The goal seemed to give Crewe confidence who started to keep the ball well & slowly frustrated the Blues - almost extending the lead seven minutes shy of the break. Linton's shot was saved by the oncoming goalkeeper, with the rebound falling to Reilly whose effort was cleared off the line.
Into the second period & Crewe started brightly, again keeping the visitors at bay & looking menacing on the counter.
But Birmingham did press hard in the final 15 minutes & excerpt considerable pressure on the Alex goal - Will Jaaskelainen saving well with his legs from striker Beryly Lubala when he was sent through one-on-one.
The visitors pumped balls into the box during the closing stages & during five minutes of injury time, but the Alex back-line & goalkeeper stood firm to record all three points.
Next up for the Under 23's is trip to Burnley on Monday (1 Oct, 2pm).
Crewe: Jaaskelainen, Johnson, Fenton, Sass-Davies, Offord, Robbins (Odipe, 80), Lundstram, Lynch, Heath, Linton, Reilly (Onyeka, 45)