Crewe 1 (Dugdale 19)
A makeshift XI showed glimpses of quality in a performance that only lacked goals against Crewe at Gresty Road. The hosts claimed the only goal of the match in the 19th minute thanks to a free header from Dugdale.
Jordan Clark showed great footwork before hammering at goal in the early stages only to see his effort rebounded wide by a defender. The hosts replied with Clayton cushioning a decent effort just wide from a good right-wing cross.
Goal-mouth action was hard to come by but when Crewe got a sniff from a deep free-kick, Adam Dugdale made no mistake with his eight-yard header the he planted, unmarked, into the far corner past a stranded Alnwick on 19 minutes.
The stand-out men for the Reds were youngster Jordan Clark and trialist Scott Hogan, the latter forcing Martin into a neat save with a low, rasping 20-yard drive into the near post.
Again Hogan was in the thick of it as he forced the Alex ‘keeper into losing the ball, allowing Dawson to attempt a curler from an acute angle into an empty net, but the Irishman’s effort zipped wide on 35 minutes.
After the break Martin did well to hold onto a Dawson free-kick that the Irishman thumped at goal from 30 yards. The Crewe stopper was busy once again when he had to deny Hogan before launching his side on a counter attack which saw the hosts win and then waste a free-kick from the edge of the box.
Just before the hour Ben Alnwick did well to deny Moore, whose attempted lob looked destined for the net. Martin was again to his side’s recue as two saves in as many minutes thwarted both Cywka and Dagnall, the latter certainly singing Martin’s palms on 75 minutes after a great first touch that created himself some space.
With five minutes to play, Cwyka saw his thunderbolt free-kick expertly denied by Martin with a strong hand. The ‘keeper did tremendously well to deny the Reds’ recent signing a goal, especially after his effort took a deflection.
Crewe: Martin, Davis, Westwood, Ellis, Dugdale, Clayton, Pogba, Leitch-Smith, Moore, Robertson, Osman.
Subs: Garratt, Murphy, Turton, Guthrie, Ray, Daniels, White.
Reds: Alnwick, Hassell, Sonko, Collins, Noble-Lazarus, Clark, Dawson, Digby, Cywka, Dagnall, Hogan.
Subs: O'Brien, Done, Wiseman, Stones, Rose, Kilburn, Scott, Sousa, Shillito.
Referee: Paul Tierney
Assistant Referees: P. Bankes and I. Hussin.
Fourth Official: P. Gooch.