Crewe: Richards, Ng (c), Lancashire, Nolan, Pickering, Wintle, Green, Lowery, Powell, Kirk (Hunt, 90+3), Porter (Anene, 81)
Unused Subs: Booth, Adebisi, Jones, Dale, Ainley
Goals: Lowery (46), Kirk (90+1)
Attendance: 4,679 (145 Crewe)
Second half goals from Tommy Lowery & Charlie Kirk gave Crewe Alex a thoroughly deserved three points on the road at Grimsby Town.
Dave Richards bailed his side out in the first half, saving a James Hanson penalty, but the Alex were good value for the victory after Lowery scored in the first minute of the second half & Kirk added the second in added time.
After making eight changes for the Leasing.com Trophy tie with Burton in midweek, Boss Dave Artell reverted back to the side that beat Bradford City in league action last weekend.
The only exception came in goal, with Dave Richards featuring in-between the sticks with Will Jaaskelainen away on international duty with Finland under 21s.
Crewe controlled possession for much of the first half & created the better chances, but were indebted to Dave Richards for keeping out a James Hanson penalty just short of the half hour.
The Alex started well & enjoyed a monopoly of the ball inside the opening ten minutes, though Charlie Kirk’s wayward shot from the edge of the box was the only attempt on goal.
The Mariners came into proceedings more & more but weren’t threatening the Alex goal, Paul Green flicking a header just over the top from a Tommy Lowery cross as Crewe continued to create the chances.
But the hosts were handed a golden opportunity to take the lead from the penalty spot in the 28th minute. Elliot Whitehouse broke into the Alex box & his run was halted by a clumsy Daniel Powell challenge with the referee pointing to the spot.
Sky Bet League Two top scorer James Hanson stepped up to the kick, but his cute effort to Dave Richards’ right was parried away by the Alex stopper to keep matters scoreless.
Moments later, Green flashed another header just wide from Powell’s right-wing cross, but that was that for further goalmouth action in the first period.
The second half couldn’t have started any better for Crewe, Lowery striking the front within the first minute. He picked up the ball in the box slightly to the right of goal & smashed a shot into the far corner with aplomb to send the travelling Alex fans into raptures.
That spelled a 15 minute period of dominance for Crewe with Powell twice getting in behind & twice being denied by goalkeeper James McKeown. His first was a 62nd minute effort, latching on to a perfectly weighted Green pass in behind but the Mariners stopper beated the effort away.
The second opening was an even better chance just six minutes later. Olly Lancashire’s diagonal played Powell in again, & this time he had more time on his side, hitting the ball low under McKeown but the goalkeeper got something on the shot to slow it down. That allowed a Mariners defender to hack the goalbound shot off the line.
After that, the hosts came well into the game mounting pressure on the Alex box without really forcing Richards into save.
Into injury time & Grimsby threw all hands to the pump in an attempt to force the equaliser. With all available outfield players in & around the Crewe box, the Alex were able to spring a lightening quick counter.
Kirk raced away with the ball from half-way & took it round the onrushing McKeown on the edge of the box before steadying himself & firing past two recovering defenders on the line to kill the game off & seal an impressive victory & clean sheet on the road.