David Artell was pleased with another good night’s work as his Crewe Alexandra side extended their recent unbeaten run to five matches and earned an extra bonus point after winning the penalty shoot-out. The 4-3 win earns us two points and keeps our hopes of qualifying from the Northern Section alive.
After the 1-1 draw after 90 minutes at the One Call Stadium, the boss said: “I thought there were some really good performances, some okay performances and no bad ones. The two young full-backs did well and they are only going to benefit from nights like this.
“We would like to introduce them to more men’s football but they are caught in the middle of first team football and Under-23s. The loan windows do not help them either in that respect with it being six months apart.
“The two lads showed that there is plenty to work with and there are areas to improve on but they can be pleased with their performances, Travis on his debut and Rio has played three games has he?
“We have to be bold and brave with our young players and give them these type of experiences. I don’t think we can be any bolder than giving Rio his debut against Aston Villa in the League Cup.
“The game was played below the normal standard and the unfamiliarity may come into that with the changes we made. They may have different players ahead of them or playing behind them and they may not be totally used to what they are going to do and all that.
“Saying that it was a pleasing night. There are no injuries and we haven’t lost the game. In fact we have won the penalty shoot-out which gives us an extra point, which is important because it still means we are in the competition and have a chance of qualifying.
“I said to the players before the game, that it is four unbeaten. Let’s make it five unbeaten and keep that momentum going and they did that. It’s a draw after 90 minutes again and we have won the penalty shoot-out, so it is again positives.
On Finney’s goal, the gaffer stated: “I knew straight away that it was goal and so did our players. The referee and his assistant didn’t and their players tried to hoodwink them into believing that it gone out or gone through the netting or whatever – but I knew it was a goal.
“It was a really good strike from Oli and he also scored his penalty, so he is up and running now. It is important for him because he is a goalscoring midfielder and he has to score goals to get into the team. He knows that and I thought he was one of our best players in that first half, he was getting in and around their box and getting shots off and that it what he has to do.
“The goal we conceded was a poor mistake but it is something Owen will learn from. If a mistake like that is going to happen then it is probably better that it happens on a night like this instead of a competitive league game. This is the night to do it but we don’t want mistakes like that to happen but in fairness he was trying to play.
“He will learn and we will not discourage him or any of the others from trying to play.”