Striker Mathias Pogba scored twice on his debut to get Crewe Alexandra’s season off to a spectacular start with a 5-0 romp against Hartlepool United in the Capital One Cup first round at Gresty Road.
Max Clayton also claimed a double to add to AJ Leitch-Smith’s opener as the hosts netted four times before the interval on their way to a new club record of twenty unbeaten games.
It took only seven minutes for the Alex to open their account for the new season when Leitch-Smith cleverly guided in skipper Ashley Westwood’s deflected free-kick.
Veteran striker Steve Howard headed a Jonathan Franks delivery wide at the other end, but it was the hosts adding to their total when Pogba rescued Leitch-Smith’s initial attempt and supplied Clayton to turn into the net.
Howard was then denied by a great stop from debutant goalkeeper Alan Martin as he blocked a close-range header midway through the opening half.
But the Alex continued to produce the style and Byron Moore crossed delightfully for Pogba to add a third goal with a sharp volley.
Five minutes later their lead grew even wider when Clayton produced an expertly composed finish after being released by Moore.
Hartlepool showed some response following the break with the bustling Howard getting on the end of another Franks cross, while Pogba and Clayton each cleared the target in reply.
But the hosts had to wait until added time to complete the rout when Pogba forced his way through to add his second of the afternoon after collecting from substitute Ollie Turton.
Crewe Alexandra: Martin, Davis, Ellis, Dugdale, Robertson, Westwood, Moore, Osman (Murphy 76), Clayton (Turton 84), Pogba, Leitch-Smith (Daniels 78)
subs (unused): Garratt, Ray, White, Mellor
Goals: Leitch-Smith (7), Clayton (13, 39) Pogba (34, 90)
Hartlepool United: Flinders, Austin, Collins, Horwood, Hartley, Franks, Walton, Monkhouse, Sweeney, James (Poole 46), Howard
subs (unused): Baldwin, Holden, Humphreys, Luscombe, Murray, Nish
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