Match Report - Notts County vs Crewe Alexandra
2 goals from Elliott Hewitt as well as strikes from Noor Husin and Mason Bennett helped Notts County stay in the automatic promotion places against a Crewe Alexandra team that lacked quality and fight at Meadow Lane on Saturday afternoon, despite Shaun Miller opening the scoring for the visitors.
Crewe manager David Artell made 5 changes from last weekend`s defeat at Swindon Town with a change of formation to a 3-4-3. Ben Garratt coming in for the injured Dave Richards in goal, Jamie Sterry coming in as a right wing-back for Charlie Kirk, Harry Pickering in for the suspended Zoumana Bakayago, Tom Lowery replacing Ryan Wintle in central midfield and Miller starting instead of Harry McKirdy. Kirk and McKirdy dropped to the bench to join George Ray, Oliver Finney, Lewis Reilly, Daniel Barlaser and goalkeeper Will Jaaskelainen, back from a loan spell with Buxton and involved in the matchday 18 for the first time since signing last summer.
The first chance of the game came in the 8th minute with Jordan Bowery capitalising on a defensive mistake, playing a 1-2 with Callum Ainley before firing a shot goal-wards that Adam Collin couldn`t hold with Miller turning in the rebound for his first since returning on loan from Carlisle.
The first chance for Notts came 3 minutes later as Hewitt blasted over before the equaliser came on the quarter-hour. A cross was cleared out as far as Husin who took a touch around Miller before firing the ball into the top corner from 30 yards. They took the lead 4 minutes before the break after Jon Stead`s cross from the right was hit into the ground by Hewitt and bounced over Garratt into the top corner.
Into the second half, Lewis Alessandra almost added to the pain for the Alex but he couldn`t get on the end of a Jorge Grant cross before Shola Ameobi forced Garratt into a good save after Grant played him through. Crewe`s next chance came on 56 minutes as Ainley`s corner was headed goal-wards by Jordan Bowery with Collin making a decent one-handed save. County`s third came on the hour after substitute Barlaser was disposed and a quick passing move saw Hewitt finish from just inside the area after some statuesque defending had allowed the Notts midfielder into the penalty area.
After throwing on McKirdy and Kirk on for Pickering and Walker, the latter produced a couple of crosses going forward but was caught out for the final goal 2 minutes from time. Grant found Alessandra on the right with Garratt`s save going straight into the path of Bennett, on debut for County, to score from close range.
Crewe host Yeovil Town next Saturday in the next league game.
Crewe: Garratt; Walker (Kirk 73), Raynes ©, Nolan; Sterry, Lowery (Barlaser 53), Green, Pickering (McKirdy 61); Miller, Bowery, Ainley
Notts: Collin; Hunt, Duffy ©, Brisley, Jones; Alessandra, Hewitt, Husin (Noble 78), Grant; Ameobi (Bennett 61), Stead (Smith 88)