Porter brace against his former club gives Alex deserved three points.
A first half double from Chris Porter proved enough for Crewe Alexandra to record their first win of the new season. Crewe had to come from behind though after conceding another early goal at a rain soaked Boundary Park. An early header from Christopher Missilou had put the home side ahead but Porter headed home a pass from Tom Lowery to equalise on 21 minutes and then he coolly slotted home a penalty five minutes before half-time to turn the game around in our favour.
How Porter’s well taken penalty was the final goal in the game from the Alex was a mystery, as we conjured up a host of chances to have put the game to bed. Oldham had their own man-of-the-match, goalkeeper Gary Woods to thank for keeping them in the game but Crewe were also guilty of missing a host of chances.
Daniel Powell, who was arguably our best performer should have marked his fine display with a goal and the likes of Olly Lancashire, Charlie Kirk and substitute Owen Dale all had good chances to kill the game.
Crewe were excellent after a slow start and we throughly deserved the three points this afternoon. The 417 travelling Alex fans were singing in the rain in that away end, as we got that away day monkey off our backs at the first attempt.
Summer signing Olly Lancashire made his debut for the club after recovering from a slight tear in his groin. The centre-half’s return allowed Ryan Wintle to move back into midfield. James Jones was left out of the starting XI.
Teenager Rio Adebisi was named on the substitutes’ bench for the first time in his young career with Josh Lundstram and Lewis Reilly dropping out of the matchday 18.
Oldham got on the front foot straight from the kick-off and the tenacious work of winger Johan Branger-Engone won a corner from our right hand side. Tom Hamer headed over from fairly close range.
Crewe had not settled at all and after a messy scrap in the middle of the pitch, Paul Green was left grounded and the ball stolen away from us. The ball was switched to Zak Mills on the Crewe left hand side and his delivery was not cut out at source and that allowed Christopher Missilou to loop his header over Will Jaaskelainen for a goal inside two minutes. It was another early goal to concede following the one against Plymouth Argyle last weekend.
The hard working Powell tried to inspire the Alex into life with some forceful runs down the right. He was often direct and left defender Ashley Smith-Brown trailing in his wake on one occasion as he raced towards the Oldham box. Moments later, Green so nearly took a threaded pass in his stride to go in on Gary Woods’ goal but it just ran away from him.
Crewe had begun to have more possession in and around the opposition penalty area but we just needed to make that final ball more effective, especially with Oldham possessing a near giant of a defender in Sonhy Sefil.
Another good move down the right hand side saw Ng and Powell combine to then release Green into the box and his low cross into the six yard box found Powell but his instant hit was straight at Woods.
Crewe’s pressure finally paid off after 21 minutes with Porter notching our first goal of the season. Tom Lowery provided the assist with a superb little chip into the Oldham box and Porter’s firm header saw it fly over a stranded Woods for the equaliser. It was no more than Crewe had deserved after making another slow start and Porter’s equaliser against his former club saw the volume increase in the away end.
Moments after Porter’s goal, Green, who continued to pop up in the opposition penalty area, flashed a header just wide of the far post.
Jaaskelainen then pulled off a fine save to deny Mills after a corner had fallen to him before Daniel Powell had a great chance to put us ahead on 26 minutes.
He used his body strength superbly well to roll away from his marker to go one on one with Woods. The Oldham goalkeeper stood up well to deny his first effort but the Alex forward looked odds on to convert the rebound. He didn’t hit it as cleanly as he would have liked with his left foot and that allowed Tom Hamer to recover and he managed to deflect it behind. Crewe couldn’t believe they hadn’t scored.
Crewe were now certainly on top and a searching ball from Wintle found the chest of Porter and his shot on the turn was saved by Woods.
Hamer became the first player to be booked after chopping down Lowery as the Alex threatened to break and create a 3-on-3 situation. From the free-kick, taken by Pickering, Eddie Nolan headed back across goal and Lancashire was presented with a great chance to mark his debut with goal but he headed too close to Woods and it was another chance gone for the Railwaymen.
Powell had been a thorn in Oldham’s side all afternoon and he used his strength again to trick his way past Missilou and head for the box. He had his shirt pulled outside the area but kept going and was then pulled down by the despairing defender and the referee did not hesitate to point to the spot. Porter stepped up and calmly deceived Woods with his well-placed spot kick for his second goal of the game on 41 minutes.
Crewe had deservedly fought back from that early goal to go in at the interval ahead and the only downside was that perhaps it should have been more than just the one goal with the chances we had created.
Oldham made two changes at the interval with Gevaro Nepomuceno and Desire Segbe Azankpo replacing Mills and Vera.
Crewe went close to extending our lead inside the first minute of the restart. Porter won his header to find Lowery and his little slipped in pass found Powell through on goal and he was only denied a goal of his own by a timely, sliding tackle from Hamer. It was perfectly timed to take the ball off his foot at the crucial moment.
Another superb break from the Alex then saw Powell bustle for possession and Porter flick the ball through to Kirk. The winger left the Oldham defence in his wake and could possibly have lifted a shot over the advanced Woods but he elected to square it across for the supportive Lowery and he applied too much pace on it. It had been another good opening though for Crewe to score again.
Pickering then found Porter and he found Powell in space in the right channel of the box, but his firm shot was saved by Woods. It was all Crewe in terms of chances but we didn’t want to be left ruing those glutton of opportunities and get hit by a sucker punch.
Crewe had to retain their concentration and Jaaskelainen was called upon to save smartly from another header from Missilou inside a crowded penalty area.
Lowery, Kirk and then Pickering made great strides down the Oldham right hand side and Pickering’s final cross seemed to trouble Woods and it skidded off the crossbar and away to safety from the home side’s point of view. Crewe needed that killer third goal to make sure.
With less than half an hour to go, Crewe were command and looking the more likely side to score again but with just the one goal in it, we couldn’t afford any lapses in concentration either.
After Wintle was fouled, Scott Wilson was booked and our skipper, Perry Ng, whipped a free-kick just wide of the near post. It was certainly worth an effort in the awful conditions.
With 17 minutes left, some real neat play from the Alex saw us keep possession really well and open up the Oldham defence again. Wintle fed Lowery with a clever ball and he flicked it through to Powell but he lashed his shot over the crossbar. Powell suffered an injury in doing so and was replaced by Owen Dale.
Oldham also made a change with Scott Wilson replaced by the former Manchester United player Chris Eagles. David Artell soon made his second change with Jones replacing Lowery.
Dale’s first real involvement saw him head a Kirk cross just wide after he had popped up behind Porter. Moments later, the ball found Kirk and his low shot forced Woods into a decent one handed save.
It should have been three on 82 minutes after Nolan climbed highest to nod down perfectly for Dale but the youngster lashed at the chance and sent it high over the crossbar. It was another unbelievable chance to kill the game as a contest.
Late on, Ainley replaced Kirk as Crewe introduced fresh legs.
But with just the one goal in it, Oldham had their golden chance to grab a share of the spoils but their own sub Azankpo dragged an injury time chance wide of the far post when he should have really found the bottom corner. It was one almighty let off and would have been harsh on Crewe, who deserved the three points.