Match Report - Crewe Alexandra vs Blackburn Rovers
Experienced striker Danny Graham scored the only goal of the night as Blackburn Rovers go through in the second round of the FA Cup at the Alexandra Stadium last night.
Crewe manager David Artell made 2 changes following Saturday`s defeat at Cheltenham Town with Zoumana Bakayago and Callum Ainley replacing Brad Walker and Jordan Bowery as Harry Pickering moved into central midfield and captain Chris Dagnall back up top alongside Chris Porter. Both Walker and Bowery dropped to the bench alongside goalkeeper Dave Richards, Charlie Kirk, Lewis Reilly, Sam Stubbs and Conor Grant.
The opening chance of the game came in the 10th minute with Ben Garratt making a save from a Craig Conway cross that was flicked on by Elliott Ward before another Conway cross from the left was headed over by Joe Nuttall from 6 yards out. The goal came in the 24th minute as a flick from George Cooper was cut out by full-back Derrick Williams with his pass finding Graham with the far corner of the goal across Garratt.
The next chance came on the half-hour mark as Nuttall got in behind the back-line with Eddie Nolan, against the club that he started his career with, getting the important deflection behind for a corner before Graham almost riffled one in from the corner of the area, his effort hitting the bar on its way out of play. The final chance of the half fell Rovers` way as Conway volleyed over from a right-wing cross by Graham.
The second half started the same way as the first ended with Richie Smallwood`s effort blocked by Michael Raynes before a rare Crewe chance on the break broke down with Porter misplacing a pass towards Dagnall instead of taking a shot. After Nolan had cleared off the Crewe goal-line from Sam Hart`s effort, Dagnall hit the post with a header from a left-wing cross from Crewe substitute Charlie Kirk.
Into the final 15 minutes where Nolan missed the target following a set-piece before he almost scored past Garratt, who made a double-save with Dack following in before Ward was booked for a late challenge on Kirk and Perry Ng tried to replicate his winner at Morecambe last month but his effort was saved easily by Leutwiler.
Crewe host Crawley Town on Saturday in our next league game whilst Blackburn will host Hull City in the next round which will take place across the first weekend of January.
Crewe: Garratt; Ng, Raynes, Nolan, Bakayago; Ainley (Kirk 42), Pickering, Lowery, Cooper; Dagnall (c, Bowery 70), Porter (Reilly 79)
Blackburn: Leutwiler; Caddis, Ward, Mulgrew ©, Williams; Tomlinson, Harper (Travis 46), Smallwood, Conway (Hart 56); Graham (Dack 63), Nuttall