Finney scores brace as Crewe run riot against Morecambe
Crewe Alexandra returned to winning ways in League Two with a comfortable 5-0 win over Morecambe at Gresty Road. David Artell’s side ran riot in the first half to go in three goals up thanks to a header from Oli Finney and shots from distance from Tom Lowery and Charlie Kirk that took slight deflections to give Mark Halstead little chance in the Morecambe goal.
The visitors’ task was made even more difficult with the dismissal of their influential captain, Sam Levelle, ten minutes before the interval after his lunging tackle caught Harry Pickering as he laid it off.
Morecambe found it difficult to contain Crewe with eleven men never mind with ten. The chances kept on flowing with Lowery and Harry Pickering both rattling the crossbar with fantastic efforts in that first period. Kirk also curled one off the post in the second half.
Ryan Wintle was fantastic throughout scored a superb fourth goal before Finney finished off the scoring with a tidy finish in stoppage time.
Crewe were so dominant and with Morecambe sitting deep and in numbers, Crewe just had to remain patient with their probing and passing to unlock the defence. It became attack against defence and Crewe could and should have scored more than the five we did.
Eddie Nolan was not deemed quite fit enough to return to the starting line-up and with a busy week coming up with Forest Green Rovers on Tuesday evening and Eastleigh in the FA Cup next weekend, the Irishman was not risked as a precaution. Christian Mbulu and Nicky Hunt started as the defensive partnership for the visit of the Shrimpers.
Midfielder Paul Green was also rested and that meant a first league start of the season for youngster Oli Finney. Finney scored for the club’s Under-23s against Runcorn Linnets in the Cheshire Senior Cup. Callum Ainley, Daniel Powell, James Jones, Travis Johnson and Chuma Anene were all named on a strong substitutes’ bench.
Crewe started at an intense pace and were quickly on the front foot in the opening 10 minutes. The Railwaymen forced a succession of early corners and free-kicks but couldn’t quite make enough of them.
At the other end, Cole Stockton was often involved in a physical confrontation with Mbulu. He won a free-kick from the Crewe centre half after a messy tussle but Alex Kenyon’s effort was deflected behind for a corner.
Crewe continued to be patient in their build-up and after god work from Dale, Lowery sent out an early marker with a curler past the far post from the edge of the box. Finney also looped an effort onto the top of the netting as the pressure on the Morecambe goal.
Morecambe defended in numbers to make things difficult but the trickery of Dale saw him fire one over Porter’s head from the by-line and then Dale found Finney at the far post but he didn’t quite get a clean enough connection to get it on target.
The deadlock was finally and deservedly broken on 22 minutes. Dale was again involved after laying the ball back to the supportive Wintle and his lifted cross found Finney ahead of George Tanner and the attacking midfielder made no mistake with his free header at the far post. It was a tidy finish to mark his first league goal for the club, following on from his goal in the Leasing.com Trophy against Mansfield.
Morecambe almost immediately hit back after a swift one-two but Lewis Alessandra curled his effort a yard wide.
Kirk forced Halstead into a good save with a curling effort before that second goal arrived just after the half an hour mark. Crewe worked it into Lowery and his deflected effort from the edge of the box gave the Morecambe goalkeeper no chance whatsoever.
Mbulu did well to clear a dangerous back post header from Aaron Wildig before Lavelle’s red card. There didn’t look that much malice in the challenge but it was late and high on Pickering and the referee did not hesitate to flash the red card.
It was 3-0 five minutes later. Kirk was fed by Nicky Hunt and after he cut in off the flank, his driven shot took a slight deflection to see it fly into the corner for his 6th goal of the campaign.
Morecambe desperately wanted the half time whistle. Lowery and then Pickering smacked the crossbar with tremendous efforts and Finney really should have converted from close range and after some sublime skill from Pickering saw him reach the by-line an cut it back for him. His first shot was blocked but you would have backed him to convert the follow up.
It was a superb performance from Crewe and in all honesty the sending off made little difference to the outcome.
The dominance continued in the second period and it really was a question of how many goals would add to their tally of three. Crewe were virtually camped in the Morecambe half of the pitch and Dale tried his hardest to get the goal his display deserved. Kirk had another effort deflected behind for a corner before the fourth goal and arguably the pick of the bunch arrived just before the hour mark. Wintle’s fantastic shot hit the underside of the crossbar and bounced in.
The fourth goal prompted three changes. Porter, Lowery and Dale were all handed a rest as Ainley, Chuma Anene and James Jones came on. Jones went close with a powerful shot that was well held by the goalkeeper. Ainley also had a shot deflected behind and Finney shot straight at the Morecambe goalkeeper after Pickering found him inside the box.
Kirk was so unlucky to see his wonderful curling shot bounce off the post. It would have been some finish.
Crewe kept going and Finney completed the scoring with a close range finish in stoppage time. Ainley made the by-line to pull it back for Jones and after his shot was blocked, Finney made no mistake with the rebound. It was a rampant Crewe and the perfect way to bounce back from last week's defeat at Northampton.