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Match Reports

Crewe Begin Pre-Season With 3-0 Win

2 July 2022

Alex kick-off pre-season with run-out at near neighbours

Crewe Alexandra retained the Barry Daly Memorial Trophy with a 3-0 victory over neighbours Nantwich Town. An unfortunate own goal from Dabbers defender Scott Butler in the early minutes set the Railwaymen on their way at the newly named Swansway Stadium.

Trialist winger, Adam Wilson tapped home a second five minutes before half time and Bassala Sambou added a third after converting home his own rebound  after his penalty was saved by substitute goalkeeper Reece Quinn in the second period.

Alex Morris named three of his new signings in his starting XI with Kelvin Mellor and Rod McDonald facing their former club and forward Courtney Baker-Richardson flanked by Wilson and the first half captain Chris Long. Conor Thomas and Charlie Colkett were not risked as a result of niggling injuries sustained in pre-season training.

The home side actually conjured up the first opportunity of the game in the opening couple of minutes. A loose pass from Regan Griffiths was seized upon by Dan Cockerline and he skilfully manoeuvred his way past Billy Sass-Davies to lay the ball invitingly back for our former midfielder Casper Hughes, but he uncharacteristically pulled his shot well wide of David Richards’ right hand post.

It didn’t take Morris side long to take the lead. Mellor swung in a cross from the right, aiming for Baker-Richardson but in an attempt to prevent it reaching the former Newport man, Butler sliced his clearance low into the bottom corner of Louis Gray’s net for an untidy opening goal.

Connor Heath caught Long early on and that led to a worrying stoppage of play as the influential forward was treated by head physio Steve Phillips. He was able to shake off the knock and would have a growing impact on the half.

Heath forced Richards into a smart save after connecting well from a rather tight angle and from the resultant corner, a well worked move saw another of our former players, Joe Robbins drag his shot wide of the target.

Robbins caught his next effort superbly well and Richards was forced into a really good save, pushing his fiercely struck shot over the crossbar.

Nantwich had conjured up some half decent chances, but Crewe really began to impose our accurate passing on the game with Tariq Uwakwe most impressive in a midfield role. The former Chelsea man kept us ticking over and showed his ability to switch play with his range of passing. Crewe kept the ball well for the first game of pre-season and good build up play down the left hand side saw young Lewis Billington provide Long with the time and space to head towards the Nantwich goal and his powerful drive just cleared the crossbar.

Crewe also had a strong penalty shout when summer capture, Baker-Richardson looked to be fouled inside the box but we had to settle for a corner. From that passage of play, Crewe were caught out by a longer ball and Heath had the chance to level in a one-on-one situation but again Richards did exceeding well to rush from his line and save with his legs.

Then after Baker-Richards had made a nuisance of himself in the air, the two trialists combined but Chris Sang’s low shot was too close to the grounded Gray to really trouble the Dabbers goalkeeper.

Crewe deservedly doubled the lead before half time and it was a well worked move. Rod McDonald clipped a ball up to Baker-Richardson and he protected the ball before touching off to Long. He made a positive burst past Matty Devine and his low cross from almost the by-line was gratefully tapped home by Wilson.

As pre-planned, Morris made chances at the break with a new set of players appearing plus trialist Sang. Shaun Miller came on for Dave Cooke’s side.

Crewe again controlled much of the play and Nantwich were organised and tough to break down and create real chances against. The home side had Gray to thank for taking a powerful drive from Callum Ainley flush in the face to prevent a certain third goal for Crewe and another fine move should have seen Charlie Finney net from Sang’s tidy lay-off, but he couldn’t keep his shot low enough.

The chances began to become more frequently for Crewe, but Sambou shot wide after getting himself clear of the Nantwich back line - but credit to him he was in there again to win a penalty for the team when substitute goalkeeper Quinn untidily went through the back of him as he tried to collect a loose ball.

Sambou won it and duly stepped up to take it. His penalty was a touch too central and Quinn was able to get a strong hand on it to keep it out, but the German-born forward made no mistake with the follow up to make it 3-0 and complete the scoring.

Sambou had another chance to get on the scoresheet again but under pressure he lifted his shot over the crossbar. For a first friendly it was a really useful run-out for a large proportion of Alex Morris’ first-team squad.

Crewe first half - Richards, Mellor, Billington, Griffiths, Sass-Davies, McDonald, Long, Uwakwe, Baker-Richardson, Sang, Wilson

Second half - Booth, K. McDonald, C. Finney, O'Riordan, Ainley, Holicek, Lunt, Offord, Sambou, Agyei, Sang


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