4/08/2018 3:00 pm
Referee: Alan Young
|Kirk, Nicholls (2), Jones (2), Porter|
Crewe Alexandra hit six for the first time since beating Cheltenham Town 8-1 in April 2011 on the opening day of the 2018/19 season to go top of the table against a Morecambe side that couldn’t live with the impressive movement at the Alexandra Stadium yesterday afternoon.
Manager David Artell named Dave Richards in goal with a back 4 of Perry Ng, captain George Ray, Eddie Nolan and Harry Pickering. In front of them James Jones, Paul Green, Ryan Wintle and Charlie Kirk made up the midfield whilst Jordan Bowery and new signing Alex Nicholls were up front. The bench was made up of keeper Ben Garratt, Michael Raynes, Chris Porter, Callum Ainley, Tom Lowery, Lewis Reilly and the other new name that wasn’t here last season, Nicky Hunt.
In a fast-paced start by the hosts, it was them who were 2 goals in-front after 10 minutes as Bowery got in down the right, nut-mugged defender Alex Kenyon with Kirk scoring on the follow-up to Green’s initial shot before Kirk crossed down the left with Nicholls flicking a header into the side-netting.
The second half saw 4 goals as Nicholls added his second of the game after good work down the left from Bowery and Green with the forward flicking it away from the defender and hitting it on the volley before Jones scored his first with a long-range strike into Roche’s bottom-right corner. Substitute Porter would get in on the act heading home a left-wing cross from Pickering with Jones adding his second in stoppage-time with a similar goal to his first, only this one was from further out.
Crewe travel to Newport County next Saturday before home games against League 1 side Fleetwood Town in the EFL Cup and in the league against MK Dons on the 14th and 18th respectively.
What did we learn from this game?
There are a few things that we can take out of the game despite playing against weak opposition. With Jones tucking in to almost make it a central 3 and Kirk staying out wide for the most part, it was tough for the Shrimps’ midfield to know whether to go narrow or play a little wider (they chose the former) and, as a result, Kirk was given the freedom of the park especially in the opening half-hour. When Kirk did go narrower, Pickering took the space that his winger left behind as right-winger Oates didn’t really help his full-back out and it was Pixie who set up Jones’ first as well as the Porter goal.
Up front, the two strikers complemented each other well with Bowery challenging for the ball in the air whilst Nicholls’ movement wouldn’t give the defenders, whether that was when the Alex had the ball or harassing defenders when we didn’t have the ball and deserved his goals for the effort that was put in.
Yes, we will face much tougher games going forward but it’s nice to see us start the season with a victory (our last before this game was against Stevenage 2 years ago) and not slow down the tempo even when at 4-0 or 5-0.