Goalless after 90 minutes, Crewe miss three in the shoot-out as Richards saves two.
Another tight affair between Hull City and Crewe Alexandra had to be decided by a penalty shoot-out at the KCOM Stadium. Crewe missed three of theirs and despite Dave Richards saving twice himself, it was Hull holding their nerve to win 3-2. Hakeeb Adelakun slotted home the winner for the Tigers.
The 90 minutes couldn’t produce a goal with Chris Porter having our best chance with a header in the 10th minute. At the other end, Dave Richards was forced into saving from distance and he pushed away a driven shot by the Hull captain, Lewie Coyle.
With it goalless, this Papa John’s Trophy tie had to be decided from the spot.
As expected, David Artell, made a number of changes for the Papa John’s Trophy tie at the impressive KCOM Stadium. Only Travis Johnson, a league debutant at Burton on Saturday, started the fixture.
Perry Ng was permitted to play in the EFL Trophy as the competition is not included in the criteria for his FA suspension. Ng retained the captain’s armband with Saturday’s stand-in skipper, Harry Pickering named on a strong bench. In a 4-3-3 formation, Ng played in central midfield alongside Regan Griffiths.
The cup tie gave the likes of Eddie Nolan, Chris Porter, Oli Finney, Offrande Zanzala a chance to impress in a competitive fixture. Defender Billy Sass-Davies returned from his recent loan spell at Altrincham to start. Young Griffiths, who was so impressive against Shrewsbury Town in the final group game, was also handed another chance to stake his claim and Rio Adebisi, who has endured an injury-hit start to the new campaign, started only his second game of the season.
For Hull, their boss Grant McCann made 11 chances to his starting XI and he was forced into another one when Martin Samulsen was injured in the warm up and was replaced by Greg Docherty for the 5.30pm kick-off.
Charlie Kirk had the first glimpse of the Hull goal after only three minutes. He was allowed, relatively unopposed, to drift off his left wing position and his final shot had to be deflected behind for an early corner.
In the 8th minute, Kirk released Zanzala and his pace drew a foul from Lewie Coyle in a promising position for the Alex, but Kirk’s flat delivery was comfortably cleared.
The home side tried to turn the Crewe back four as often as they could, but they found it difficult to get in behind. On 10 minutes, Travis Johnson ventured forward and produced a splendid back post cross that was met by the head of Chris Porter. The Crewe forward was placed under some pressure and his firm header was just too close to George Long as he was able to get two strong fists to it. It was clearly the best chance of the opening exchanges.
Dave Richards was first called into action after Crewe had loosely presented possession back to the Tigers close to our own box. Tom Eaves found James Scott and his curling effort was well held by the Welshman at the foot of his near post.
Both teams continued to play some good football and the tempo to the game was high but it just needed a touch more quality and care with the final balls going into both boxes. On 20 minutes, Porter was booked as he tried to retrieve possession closer to his own goal than the oppositions.
After a bit of a lull in genuine chances, Griffiths produced a really accurate ball over the top of the Hull defensive line that Finney took down superbly well on his chest, but from a tight angle he could only fire his shot into the side netting. Finney continued to offer that threat when breaking from deep and his combination play with Kirk looked the most likely avenue to break the deadlock.
Hull forward, Tom Eaves, was forced off with an injury after 36 minutes and was replaced by Mallik Wilks. Crewe knew all about the powerful Wilks from the league game as it was his goal nine minutes from time that settled a tight game.
A few minutes later, Crewe were so nearly hit on the counter-attack. One minute, we were aiming to enter the Hull penalty area through Zanzala, the next we needed Nolan to deflect a shot from Docherty behind for a corner.
As the game approached the half-time break, the game became a touch scrappy and Crewe went longer with their passing, aiming more often than not for Porter and trying to play off him.
Hull broke the Crewe offside trap in the opening five minutes of the second half and Richards was called upon to make a smart save after Scott took a heavy touch at the far post. The overlapping Hull players seemed to have got in the way of each and Richards took advantage by racing from his line and narrowing his angle.
Crewe had just fallen into the trap of being too loose in possession and that gave the home side some encouragement in our half of the pitch. The Railwaymen were forced to defend deeply and that invited Docherty to shoot from the edge of the box. Richards did well to hold onto it. Eddie Nolan joined Porter in the referee’s notebook for a soft offence.
Kirk and Finney combined again down the left hand side but the winger’s wicked delivery into the six-yard box hit a Hull body before it reached Porter.
Hull really began to pin Crewe back and cross after cross started to be loaded into our penalty area. Scott wasted a free header and Festus Arthur did have the ball in the net with a free header from a free-kick, but he was rightly adjudged offside. Crewe needed to get a grip on the ball.
Billy Chadwick replaced Thomas Mayer before Adebisi made a fantastic clearance with his header as Wilks threatened to get on the end of a cross. The full-back threw himself into the confrontation and came out on top inside our own six yard box.
In an attacking sense the left back then created Crewe’s first real opening of the second half on 67 minutes. Adebisi’s venture forward allowed him to poke the ball through to the unmarked Griffiths but from just over 20 yards, the young midfielder couldn’t keep his shot down to test Long. Griffiths would have been disappointed not to have at least hit the target.
McCann’s next change on the night saw Hakeeb Adekakun replace Max Sheaf.
Wilks continued to be a handful with his power and Hull continued to use him as their best outlet in and around the Crewe box. Sass-Davies did well to cut out one of his crosses.
A clever flick from Porter gave Kirk with another space to operate and his low cross so nearly fell to Finney. Moments later, after tidy skill from Griffiths, Finney hit the by-line but once again the cross was intercepted before it fell to a red shirt.
With 12 minutes remaining, Docherty elected to slide in his captain, Coyle, rather than shoot and the advanced full-back went for power instead of placement and Richards got his position just right to push the effort away. It was another decent stop.
The game ebbed and flowed in the closing stages and neither defence wanted to make a costly mistake that would decide this evenly poised cup-tie.
With four minutes remaining, substitute Adelakun went close to a winner after he was allowed inside off the right hand side but his shot from 25 yards just cleared Richards’ crossbar.
A minute later, Ng was presented with a central free-kick following a handball but his shot hit the top of the Hull wall and bounced away for a corner.
Crewe had to defend a late corner of their own but Richards came and got enough on his punch to clear and a minute later, referee James Bell blew his whistle to signal a penalty shoot-out.
Regular penalty taker, Porter confidently tucked away our opening spot-kick. Richards guessed right to save low to his left from Docherty to give Crewe the early advantage. That didn’t last long as Finney put his effort over George Long’s crossbar. Billy Chadwick levelled things up.
Young Griffiths was up next and shot straight at Long, who didn’t move. It was advantage Hull after their captain Coyle placed his spot kick past the diving Richards.
Zanzala had to give Crewe hope but his effort was saved and Wilks had a chance to win it but Richards once again judged right to make a superb save.
Ng had to score to make it 2-2 and keep us in the competition and he put Long the wrong way. Richards needed to produce heroics again but Adelakun kept his nerve to score and send the League One leaders through 3-2.