Date: 5th November 2017 at 3:15am
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2 second-half goals from Brad Walker and Callum Ainley gave Crewe Alexandra their first FA Cup win in 5 years, against League 1 promotion contenders Rotherham United, at the Alexandra Stadium yesterday despite Will Vaulks’ 21st minute opener.

Crewe manager David Artell made 3 changes to last week`s starting line-up with defenders Michael Raynes, back from suspension to play against one of his former clubs, and Harry Pickering coming in for Eddie Nolan and Zoumana Bakayago whilst George Cooper replaced Chris Porter as Crewe lined up with Cooper and Ainley out wide.

The opening chance of the game came in the opening minute with the Millers` Josh Emmanuel playing a free-kick into the area with Richard Wood beaten to the ball by Dave Richards in the Alex goal. After an opening 20 minutes where the visitors were on top, they took the lead as Vaulks curled the ball into the top corner from just outside the area whilst the first chance for Crewe came on 26 minutes as Pickering curled one wide with his right foot from outside the area.

The next chance almost fell to Raynes but Cooper`s corner kick eluded him at the back post before a controversial event happened on the stroke of half-time. A corner was curled in by Joe Newell and was headed in by Kieffer Moore but the referee, after consulting with his linesmen on that side, disallowed the goal and the corner was to be re-taken.

Into the second half and Crewe got back on level terms almost immediately as Walker headed home a deep Cooper free-kick from around the penalty spot, beating Richard O`Donnell to the ball, to score his first goal for the Railwaymen. The next Rotherham chance came on the hour mark as Vaulks` well-struck free-kick clipped the bar on the way out before Raynes almost converted Jordan Bowery`s cross mid-way through the half with Wood getting a vital block to concede a corner rather than Raynes getting his second of the season.

Richards made a wonderful save 15 minutes from time as Moore is denied from close-range before the giant forward would head a corner over from 10 yards 5 minutes before time before Ainley won the game with a minute of normal time remaining. After a ball played in behind the defence, the midfielder beat O`Donnell to the ball with a lob that former Alex loanee Semi Ajayi couldn`t keep out despite a last-ditch attempt to hook the ball away.

Crewe host Lincoln City next Saturday in our next league game whilst the FA Cup draw is on BBC2 and BT Sport 1 on Monday night at 7pm – we are ball no. 31 in the draw.

Crewe: Richards; Ng, Walker, Raynes, Pickering; Ainley, Lowery, Grant, Cooper; Dagnall ©, Bowery (Porter 75)

Rotherham: O`Donnell; Cummings, Ajayi, Wood (Ihiekwe 83), Emmanuel; R.Williams (Taylor 62), Vaulks, Potter, Newell; Ball (Towell 68), Moore