Crewe Win Cheshire Senior Cup Final
A Callum Saunders goal 6 minutes from time gave Crewe Alexandra their first Cheshire Senior Cup victory since 2003 at the Alexandra Stadium against near neighbours Nantwich Town despite the Northern Premier League twice drawing level after the Alex took the lead.
Crewe made 4 changes from their Under-23s game on Monday night (a 4-1 win at Ashton Gate against Bristol City) with Scott Wardley replacing Andy Dawber in goal, Jamie Wilkinson in for Ross Woodcock at right-back, Callum Ainley in for Chelsea loanee Alex Kiwomya out wide and Owen Dale in for Daniel Udoh up front.
Nantwich also made 4 changes from Saturday's 1-1 draw at Spennymoor Town with former Crewe academy graduate Andy White coming in at right back for Joel Stair, Steve Jones came in as captain against his former club for Josh Hancock on the right-wing, Abadaki in for Joe Mwasile on the left-wing whilst Brooke came in for Tom Peers up front.
The opening effort of the game saw Nantwich attack through White but his effort was blocked before Abadaki came in off the wing and his shot was straight at Wardley. Crewe took the lead on 8 minutes as Harry Pickering's left-wing cross was headed down by Ryan Wintle, straight at Daniel Gyollai but the Crewe midfielder scored at the second attempt. Nantwich equalised 5 minutes later as Abadaki's cross from the left was finished first-time at the near post by Brooke.
There were 2 efforts from Crewe before they re-took the lead with Saunders shooting straight at Gyollai whilst Callum Ainley's shot was blocked by Ben Harrison. They did take the lead again on 21 minutes as Ainley played a 1-2 with Charlie Kirk with the former curling the ball past Gyollai into his top-left corner. Nantwich almost leveled 10 minutes later as Harrison came out of the defence with the ball before taking a shot that was deflected and tipped over by the young Alex keeper.
Into the second half and Nantwich equalised nearly straight away. The ball dropped to Steve Jones inside the area with the veteran forward firing it goalwards which Wardley got a hand to but not enough to keep the ball out. Nantwich were the better side in the opening part of the second half and could have took the lead if Brooke could have got on the end of Ibou Touray's cross from the left.
Mid-way through the second half and sub Hancock had a deflected shot saved by Wardley before Saunders got in behind the Dabbers backline with Harrison making another decent block and Crewe captain Perry Ng headed a Kirk free-kick over the bar. Into the final 10 minutes and Saunders got in again firing another shot over before he scored the winner getting on the end of an Oliver Finney through-ball finishing across Gyollai into the bottom corner of the goal. The final chance of the game came in stopppage-time with a Cooke corner falling to Steve Jones on the edge of the area with his shot deflected wide by Curtis Jones.
Crewe (4-4-2): Wardley; Wilkinson, Ng (c), Poscha, Pickering; Kirk, Wintle, Finney, Ainley; Saunders, Dale
Booked: Wintle 87
Nantwich (4-2-3-1): Gyollai; White, C.Jones, Harrison, Touray; Hall, Riley; S.Jones (c), Bell (Cooke 67), Abadaki (Hancock 47); Brooke (Mwasile 77)