Crewe commenced their cup endeavour on Saturday when they travelled to Chester to face MBNA FC in the Cheshire Amateur Cup. Having scouted the opposition himself, Danny Massey also opted to switch up the formation for the upcoming match. MBNA got the game under way in the autumnal afternoon sun, but Crewe were immediately on the front foot with early long range efforts from Nathan Dyer and Josh Ruane in the first 5 minutes. In the 7th minute Kieran O’Connor found Curtis Lewis who dinked a cross into the box which Nathan Southern acrobatically connected with but his bicycle kick flew over the bar. The defenders then tried their luck with JJ Bailey having a goalbound header flagged for offside while Connor Alcock’s back post header was blocked on the line. Southern then went close twice in the 18th and 24th minutes when his first shot only found the side netting and his second, a long range effort, being gathered by the keeper. Curtis then tried his luck, seizing on a loose ball but sadly scuffed his shot, and just a minute later a long throw into the box bobbled into his path but this time there was too much power in the shot and the ball flew over the bar. The change in formation allowed for some good link up play between Crewe’s front three of Southern, Curtis and Harry Ashworth, and they continued to dictate the tempo of the game. In the 44th minute an off balance volley by Curtis was held by the home keeper. Some good work down the right wing by Kieron allowed him to find space to tee up Harry Ashworth but his first time shot was inches wide of the post. The final kick of the first half fell to Ruane who did excellently to get in 1 on 1 with the keeper but the ball bobbled unfortunately and his shot was sliced over the bar. A confident first 45 minutes for Crewe who were unlucky not to find the back of the net having commanded the game, with Crewe keeper Arran Lyons virtually untested. Crewe got the second half underway, and within two minutes they took the lead. Connor Alcock beat two men whilst cutting inside from the left hand side and fired a shot into the top left corner from 25 yards out. 1-0 to Crewe, and the only real surprise is that it took until the second half for the first goal to arrive. The next big chance was a contentious one, a Southern header appeared to have crossed the line, and then appeared to be blocked by a hand in the ensuing goal line clearance, but the referee ignored the plentiful appeals and waved play on. Some neat play between Southern and Harry Maclennan almost created a chance but the keeper claims the flick on. Connor almost doubled his tally when his looping cross almost caught out the keeper, who backpedalled and manged to tip it over the bar. However the resulting corner whipped in by Ashworth was inch perfect for JJ Bailey whose glancing downward header gave the keeper no chance and gave Crewe a 2-0 lead. In the 84th minute another Ashworth corner found Jack Gater whose powerful header was straight at the goalkeeper. A long kick by Arran was flicked on to southern who found himself 1 on 1 with the keeper and coolly placed his shot through the oncoming keepers legs to make it 3-0. Finally in the dying minutes of the game an exquisite through ball by bay Harry Maclennan caught the entire MBNA defence unawares leaving southern free to race in and slot the ball into the bottom corner to not only make it 4-0 on the day but also equal the goal scoring record for Crewe FC. 13 goals in 9 games for Southern, and a perfect way to round out the scoring, and the game. A good performance against a hardworking team. Full credit to both teams for an entertaining affair, but Crewe thoroughly deserved their well-earned ticket to the next round.
CREWE CONTINUE IN THE CUP, SOUTHERN SIZES UP SCORING RECORD