Crewe Beat Wolves In Friendly
There's little point in going through the action of today's match, it was after all a friendly and the result was of little importance. The game did though give us a good look at what we've got in our squad.
Of the players likely to be involved in the first team next season, only Leitch-Smith, Connerton and Max Clayton missed out today, the former two being injured and Clayton still yet to return to pre-season training since returning from the U-17 World Cup.
The game was essentially split into two. The first half was both side's 'first XI' and the second half was the respective second XI. The difference however was still huge between the teams; our second 11 consisted of only two outfield players over the age of 19, one of whom was a trialists. Wolves' second XI meanwhile had the likes of Jody Craddock, Kevin Doyle and Michael Kightly.
The promising aspect was that the gap in quality never really shone through. It would obviously be a different matter if this game was played in three weeks time but today it still gave a very young, inexperienced bunch of players a good work out.
The first half, for a friendly, was mildly entertaining. Both sides had a few pot shots with Dugdale and Shelley both trying their luck from distance, Lee Bell meanwhile clipped the bar from the edge of the area.
The new look 4-3-3/4-5-1/4-2-3-1 formation seemed to help Shelley and Moore, and in the second half Brendan Daniels and Harry Clayton, find lots of space between the opposition defence and midfield. It's an interesting one that should provide a lot of goals next season and helps soften the lack of height problem. How it'll perform defensively , anyones guess.
It was the massive amounts of space that allowed Westwood, Moore and Miller to take it in turns to pick their spot on the counter attack for the first goal, Miller eventually dummying the centre half inside the box and slotting home from 10 yards out.
The second half didn't quite have the same attacking flair from either side although both goals made up for it. Kevin Doyle first equalising for Wolves, shrugging off challenges from Sarcevic and Casper Hughes to fire in to the top corner from 20 yards. Then, in the final minutes, Sarcevic bettered it with his own 20-25 yard thunder strike buried into the top right corner to secured a 2-1 win.
So, what of the players?
Phillips had little to do other than marshall a reshuffled, rather than new look, defence. Davis and Dugdale both coped well in their respective roles whilst Toots and Artell gave steady performances.
Bell and Murphy were, well, Bell and Murphy. Westwood looked a hell of a lot more comfortable in his advanced role than at any stage in last season's 'deep' role. Moore and particularly Shelley looked bright, Shelley produced a few brilliant runs. Miller took his goal well, a few more like that this summer will set him up nicely for the season.
In the second half, for me the outstanding performers were easily White at left back and Sarcevic in midfield. Young George Ray was probably the better of the centre backs ahead of Carl Martin, certainly not too bad for a 17 year old. Harry Clayton and Brendan Daniels both showed they could push for a first team appearance at some stage also.
Wolves gave Turton a tough time without the youngster ever really being undone whilst Powell really struggled to have a great effect on the game, a lot of stray balls and runs into no mans land. Mat Bailey as a lone striker also left a lot to be desired, a very poor game from the trialist.
Finally, goalkeeper Alan Martin looked comfortable with only a brief worry in a mix up between him and his namesake Carl Martin. I imagine A. Martin will be offered a contract soon enough.
In all, a typical pre-season friendly that was nothing to write home about. There were promising performances but nothing to satisfy us long term, you cannot say any of the second half team looked ready for 50 games next season and, unfortunately, there are perhaps still question marks over one or two of the first half team.
A 'first signing of the summer' still needs to happen but in the long term there's definitely some top, top youngsters in our ranks.
Attendance: 2,567 (Wolves support: 976)
First Half Alex Side:
Wolves (First-half): Hennessey, Stearman, Reckord, D. Davis, Johnson, Berra, Mendez-Laing, Milijas, Ebanks-Blake, Vokes, Hammill.
Second Half Alex Side:
Wolves (Second-half): Ikeme, Elokobi, Batth, Craddock, Kostrna, Henry, Kightly, Keogh, Doyle, Griffiths, Jarvis.