Goals from Charlie Kirk and Jordan Bowery (2) see Crewe record comfortable 3-0 victory over Cheshire rivals Macclesfield to maintain their unbeaten home record and keep three clean sheets out of three at Gresty Road.
Crewe Starting XI: 4-4-2
Perry Ng, George Ray (C), Eddie Nolan (19), Kevin O’Connor (79)
Callum Ainley (70), James Jones, Ryan Wintle, Charlie Kirk
Jordan Bowery, Shaun Miller
Subs- Michael Raynes (70), Chris Porter, Dave Richards, Alex Nicholls (79), Tom Lowery, Lewis Reilly, Nicky Hunt (19)
Macclesfield Starting XI: 4-2-3-1
James Pearson, Fiacre Kelleher (79), Jamie Grimes, David Fitzpatrick,
Callum Maycock (45), Callum Evans
Jordan Ponticelli (36), Danny Whitaker, Malachi Napa
Subs- Rhys Taylor, Kieth Lowe, Tyrone Marsh, Nathan Blissett (36), Miles Welch-Hayes (45), Peter Vincenti (79), Koby Arthur
Crewe’s return to Gresty Road after two games on the road was marked by an impressive start for the Railwaymen. Crewe had chances to take the lead within the first 10 minutes but Macclesfield managed to keep the score at 0-0. Crewe had the best chance of the game 15-minutes in when Ainley took the ball round his man and cut the ball back to Bowery, however, his powerful effort was saved by the legs of the Silkmen goalkeeper O’Hara. It was clear to see that a Crewe goal was coming, and just two minutes later the ball was in the back of the net.
It was a wonderful solo effort from Charlie ” The Ginger Coutinho” Kirk, he received the ball from Wintle 30-yards-out and ran at the defence before switching the ball onto his right foot where he then lofted a shot over O’Hara from 18-yards-out.
Crewe deserved their lead and apart from a good chance for Ponticelli where he placed the ball into hands of Garratt from eight-yards-out the Silkmen rarely looked threatening. Unfortunately for the Alex the goal celebrations were quickly cut short as last years player of the season Eddie Nolan had to be substituted after 20 minutes with an injury, however, Hunt came on and put in a solid performance.
After the goal Crewe began to properly take control with a comfortable spell of possession. The next chance came when Hunt played Bowery through with a lovely pass through the centre of the Macclesfield defence but his near post effort was saved by O’Hara.
Crewe deserved a second goal so when Bowery scored a header 40 minutes in to make it 2-0 it was no surprise. The striker scored his first goal of the 2018/19 campaign after a lovely piece of Crewe build-up play, Ray hit a long ball to Kirk who played a one-two with Miller before placing a perfectly weighted cross into the centre of the box, Bowery beat O’Hara to it and despite claims from Jonah that he got the final touch as it crossed the line it certainly looked like Jordan’s goal to me.
Macclesfield could have halfed the deficit on the stroke of half time if it wasn’t for a brilliant last minute challenge by Perry Ng who kept the score at 2-0.
The second half was much quieter than the first for both sides, Crewe looked happy to hold onto their clean sheet and try and hit Macclesfield on the counter attack whilst the Silkmen lacked any real quality to break down the Alex back line.
Macclesfield dominated the first 15 minutes but just couldn’t find a breakthrough as they failed to really test Crewe’s number one.
Crewe withheld the pressure and should have made it 3-0 60 minutes in, however, a double save by O’Hara who kept out both Bowery after he was played in down the right and Ainley who followed up with the rebound kept it a 2-0.
Crewe eventually made it three on 68 minutes after a quick counter attack led by Jonah. Crewe won the ball back and after Jonah played a quick one-two with Ainley it was three-on-three, Jonah ran at the Macclesfield defence before lofting a cross right on the head of Jordan Bowery who placed it in the corner for his second and Crewe’s third.
After that goal Crewe brought on Raynes for Ainley in an attempt to maintain their clean sheet record at home. The remaining 20 minutes consisted of Macclesfield lumping long balls forward, but every time either Raynes or Ray would head them away.
Macclesfield failed to make any of their late possession count as they seemed to lack that little bit of quality needed to break down Crewe’s defence. The game finished 3-0 to the Railwaymen as Crewe record their second victory of the season and maintain their unbeaten record at Gresty Road.
Full Time Thoughts:
Crewe just look a completely different side at home. The boys registered a comfortable 3-0 victory, but if it wasn’t for the heroic efforts of Silkmen keeper O’Hara it could have easily become another 6-0 win for the Alex.
Garratt had a simple day at the office which is credit to Crewe’s back four. Returning captain George Ray put in an outstanding performance, not only was Ray key in keeping the Macclesfield forwards quiet, he also played a number of long balls forward that routinely found their target.
Everyone involved in Crewe’s midfield again had a solid day at the office. Ainley constantly had the better of the Macclesfield full-back and was unlucky not to be rewarded for his efforts with either a goal or an assist. Jonah and Wintle controlled the middle of the park and between them they barely put a foot wrong all game. Charlie Kirk stands out as one of Crewe’s best performers, the electric winger registered himself both a goal and an assist in what was an all round excellent performance.
Shaun Miller had a relatively quiet game up front whilst his striking partner Jordan Bowery bagged himself two goals. Bowery proved his importance to the Alex today as he offers such a useful aerial threat, something that Crewe were able to take advantage of. Bowery also made a number of excellent runs in behind and could have easily had another two goals.
Despite scoring three goals and keeping a clean sheet there is still room for improvement for the Railwaymen. Despite putting in a solid defensive performance, new on loan left-back Kevin O’Connor needs to get more involved in the attacks. Kirk loves to come inside onto his right foot, this leaves room down the left hand side that O’Connor needs to start exploiting. However, this was O’Connors first start, so hopefully with more training under his belt O’Connor will be able to get more involved in the final third.
Finally Crewe need to learn to transfer this sort of form away from home, so far this season Gresty Road has being a fortress with Crewe scoring nine and conceding nothing in three games, however away from home Crewe are yet to score or pick up a point. If Crewe can find a way to play the way they do at Gresty Road away from home then a playoff push will definitely be possible.