- Long wins it for Alex deep into stoppage time
- Brace for Agyei takes tally to 16 for season
- Railwaymen make it five home wins on spin
Christopher Long’s 101st minute penalty sealed a dramatic 3-2 victory for Crewe Alexandra over Bradford City at Mornflake Stadium.
The striker smashed home from the spot deep into stoppage time to make it five home wins on the spin for The Railwaymen.
Earlier, Dan Agyei’s super first-half double had put Crewe in charge at the break, as he took his tally to 16 for the season.
But goals from Andy Cook and Jamie Walker soon after the restart had put the game back in the balance.
However, Lee Bell’s men came through to finish 2022-23 seven unbeaten at home, and move up to 13th in League Two.
The Manager made two changes to the side that beat Swindon at the weekend. Lachlan Brook’s sparking cameo off the bench in the 2-1 win earned him a starting place at the expense of Courtney Baker-Richardson. And Zac Williams came in at left-back, in place of the injured Charlie Finney.
Bantams skipper Richie Smallwood was booked for tripping Ryan Finnigan as he burst through early on, and Agyei’s effort from the resultant free kick hit the wall.
But on 17 minutes Agyei stormed in from the Alex left with pace and power, and when keeper Harry Lewis advanced, he lifted the opener over him into the far corner.
Kelvin Mellor headed wide as Crewe looked for a second, and Joel Tabiner brought a comfortable save from the away keeper after a run from halfway.
On 40 minutes keeper Tom Booth was called into serious action for the first time and he got down well to his right to palm a Scott Banks drive around the post.
And just before the break Crewe made it 2-0 with a super goal. Trickery from Christopher Long down the left saw him beat Brad Halliday and cross for an easy Agyei tap-in.
Cook pulled one back with a free header from a corner immediately after the restart, and the Bradford fans turned up the volume.
Booth made a good save from a Banks strike from an angle, but on 54 minutes it was 2-2.
A free-kick was lofted into the box and when the ball dropped to Walker, he made no mistake.
Agyei whistled a curler just past the junction of post and bar on the hour mark, and Brook stuck the hands of Lewis from a rifled effort 20 yards out.
Long was close with an outrageous effort from fully 35 yards as Crewe began to get on top again, while at the other end Booth did well to hold a Smallwood drive from a set-piece routine.
The busy Booth was again called into action to deny Banks from an angle as the game entered its final 10 minutes, and had a simple save to make from a Cooke header shortly after.
The referee signalled 10 minutes of injury time, and sub Courtney Baker-Richardson was inches wide after bustling through on goal just as the fourth official’s board was raised.
The game could have gone either way, as Bradford pushed to try to keep their hopes of automatic promotion alive.
But it was Crewe who nicked it, as Callum Ainley found fellow sub David Amoo in the box, and he was fouled.
Long kept his composure amid the commotion to rifle home from 12 yards and send the Alex faithful home happy.
Crewe (4-3-3): Booth; Mellor, O’Riordan, McDonald, Williams (Adebisi, 46); Thomas, Tabiner (Amoo, 94), Finnigan; Agyei (Ainley, 88), Brook (Baker-Richardson, 68), Long.
Subs not used: Richards, Griffiths, Colkett.
Booked: Williams, Agyei, Baker-Richardson.
Bradford (4-4-2): Lewis; Halliday, Stubbs, Crichlow, Ridehalgh; Banks, Gilliead, Smallwood, Eisa (Osadebe, 70); Cook, Walker (Derbyshire, 90).
Subs not used: Doyle, Platt, East, Pereira, Clayton.
Booked: Smallwood, Gilliead.
Referee: A Herczeg.
Attendance: 6,123 (2,314).