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Match Reports

Match Report | Sunderland 1 Crewe 1 (Alex win 5-3 on pens)

8 August 2023

Match Reports

Match Report | Sunderland 1 Crewe 1 (Alex win 5-3 on pens)

8 August 2023

  • Railwaymen cause upset to progress
  • Captain Offord on target with header
  • Cooney smashes home decisive penalty

Crewe Alexandra progressed to the second round of the Carbao Cup thanks to a super upset at the Stadium of Light.

Lee Bell’s side won a penalty shootout after a 1-1 draw in normal time to emerge victorious from Sunderland for the first time ever.

Captain Luke Offord had opened the scoring with a superb header but Chris Rigg levelled for the Black Cats after the restart.

Elliott Nevitt, Christopher Long, Rio Adebisi, Joel Tabiner and Ryan Cooney were all successful with unerring accuracy in the shootout.

And keeper Harvey Davies saved Pierre Ekwah’s penalty to inspire Crewe to the win.

It was a memorable evening for the Reds who will enjoy the evening before preparing for the weekend’s visit to Swindon.

Bell made five changes to the side that drew with Mansfield and switched to a 3-5-2 formation. Cooney made his full debut while fellow wing-back Lewis Billington was also handed a start.

Connor O’Riordan was picked in the middle of the back three, while Matus Holicek came into midfield. Courtney Baker-Richardson started and was partnered in attack by Shilow Tracey.

Tony Mowbray made 10 changes to the home side’s line-up, with new keeper Nathan Bishop and defender Nectar Triantis starting alongside teenagers Rigg and Jewison Bennette.

After a quiet start the Alex had the first shot at goal. Sunderland scrambled a corner clear and Tabiner was just off target with his effort from range.

Jack Powell struck the outside of the post with a clever angled strike from a direct free-kick, while at the other Alex Pritchard brought a good save from Davies with a dead ball strike of his own.

On 38 minutes Pritchard took aim from 30 yards but Davies made a confident stop and made sure not to spill the ball to lurking attackers.

Twice more Davies denied Pritchard before the break, as Sunderland – who bossed possession throughout - started to look more dangerous.

But it was The Railwaymen who led at the interval thanks to Offord’s magnificent header from Tabiner’s swirling stoppage-time corner.

Mowbray made three changes at half time and one of the subs, Bradley Dack, played Bennette through soon after the restart but Davies was swiftly off his line to smother.

Connor O’Riordan made a vital block to deflect a Dack strike for a corner as the home side pressed.

Bell made three subs on the hour, leaving Crewe with the homegrown midfield three of Holicek, Tabiner and Owen Lunt.

On 64 minutes it was 1-1 when the Alex failed to clear their lines and Rigg, who only recently turned 18, steered home from near the penalty spot.

Ekwah’s 20-yarder hit the outside of the post as the Sunderland pressure intensified in the closing stages.

Davies made a super save from Dack’s lob deep into injury time to force the shootout.

Sunderland (4-2-3-1): Bishop; Johnson (Crompton, 46), Batth, Triantis, Huggins; Rigg, Neil (Dack, 46); Ba (Bellingham, 70), Pritchard, Taylor (Ekwah, 46); Bennette.

Subs not used: Patterson, O’Nien, Spellman, Roberts, Clarke.

Booked: Batth, Bennette, Pritchard, Ba.

Crewe (3-5-2): Davies; Williams, O’Riordan, Offord; Cooney, Holicek (Demetriou, 90+2), Powell (Lunt, 60), Tabiner, Billington (Adebisi, 59); Tracey (Long, 59), Baker-Richardson (Nevitt, 69).

Subs not used: Booth, Nevitt, Woodcock, Thomas, Griffiths.

Booked: Powell, Holicek, Lunt, Offord.

Referee: Scott Oldham.

Attendance: 10, 763.

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