A first-half double from former Crewe Alexandra forward Callum Saunders knocked Crewe Alexandra out of the Cheshire Senior Cup last night, despite Owen Dale‘s goal in the second half, to Nantwich Town as the holders go through to the quarter-final stage.
Manager Alex Morris named Dave Richards in goal (as captain) with Travis Johnson, Michael Raynes, Luke Offord and Rio Adebisi in the back 4. In midfield, Joe Lynch sat in front of the defence with Tom Lowery and Ollie Finney alongside him whilst Alex Nicholls and Dale either side of Shaun Miller up front.
Nantwich lined up with 6 former Alex youngsters in their line-up with Toby Mullarkey and Jamie Morgan in the defence, Luke Walsh, Caspar Hughes and Saunders in midfield and Sean Cooke in behind the front man while Steve Jones was on the bench for the visitors.
The opening chance of the game saw the opening goal as Danny Glover played Saunders through with the forward cutting back onto his left foot and firing past Richards, sending the keeper the wrong way. After a succession of corners for the hosts, it was the visitors that extended their lead from an Alex corner with Fabian Spiess catching it, throwing it out to Hughes who was allowed to advance into the Alex half with his through pass sending Saunders out wide. The Welshman cut in from the right and curled in from the corner of the area. The next Alex chance saw Lowery play Nicholls through but a superb block from Spiess with his legs outside the area.
After Nicholls was replaced by Malachi Linton at the break, the youngster adding a bit of energy from the right and the continued pressure saw the Alex halve the deficit on the hour mark with Lowery’s cross from the left was headed in off the post by Dale. More chances saw another decent save from Spiess as he stopped Linton’s downward header from a Miller cross before a late double save saw him stop substitute Regan Griffiths‘ late drive then Finney’s efforts saved with 3 minutes left to play.
Crewe (4-3-3): Richards (c); Johnson (Griffiths 69), Raynes, Offord, Adebisi; Lowery, Lynch, Finney; Nicholls (Linton 46), Miller, Dale
Nantwich (4-4-1-1): Spiess; Bourne, Mullarkey, Stair, Morgan; Walsh (Mwasile), Hughes (c), Bell, Saunders; Cooke; Glover (Malkin)