Goals from Dan Agyei and debutant Lachlan Brook, on loan from Premier League Brentford, saw Crewe Alexandra win on the opening day of the 22/23 season at Rochdale despite a goal back from Devante Rodney midway through the second half.
Manager Alex Morris named Arsenal loanee Arthur Okonkwo in goal behind a back 4 of Kelvin Mellor, new captain Luke Offord, Rod McDonald and Zak Williams. Conor Thomas partnered Tariq Uwakwe in midfield while Brook, Callum Ainley and Bassala Sambou started behind Dan Agyei. On the bench were goalkeeper Tom Booth, Courtney Baker-Richardson, Regan Griffiths, Oli Finney, Charlie Colkett, Leicester City loanee Khanya Leshabela and Billy Sass-Davies.
The visitors took the lead in the 14th minute with Agyei heading home a free-kick from Callum Ainley before the lead was doubled 8 minutes later as another pass from Ainley found Brook whose left-footed effort from the edge of the area beat Richard O’Donnell into the keeper’s bottom-left corner. The Aussie could have added a second on the half-hour mark but couldn’t convert a cross from Zak Williams.
Dale would get one goal back with 21 minutes left to play, Rodney cutting in off the wing before beating Okonkwo before Baker-Richardson came off the bench to make his debut for Brook with Finney replacing Sambou moments later. Leshabela would replace Ainley with 8 minutes to play as the Alex would hold on to a first opening day since thrashing Morecambe 6-0 in 2018.
The next games for the Alex see the first home game of the season against Harrogate Town next Saturday before a trip to Grimsby Town the following Tuesday.
What can we take out of this game?
It’s three points on the board already (and at least two more than we normally have at this stage of the season!) where we dominated the first half of the game before being resilient with our defending (and some poor finishing from the hosts) in the second.
Good games from a number of the new signings, especially Thomas in midfield, while Brook is the type of player that will get people off their seats in excitement – that said, it’s one game and it’ll be interesting to see where we are in the table after the 10 game mark.
30/07/2022 3:00 pm
Referee: Andrew Kitchen