Crewe Alexandra 3-1 Stoke City XI: Cooper shines as youthful Potters side are rolled over

Crewe 'keeper Ben Garratt barely had a shot to save as the hosts romped to a convincing pre-season victory.

Crewe Alexandra 3-1 Stoke City XI: Cooper shines as youthful Potters side are rolled over
The two teams shake hands before kick-off
Crewe
3 1
Stoke City
Crewe: Garratt; Ng, Nolan, Walker, Lowery'Raynes, Porter, Wintle, Dagnall; Ainley, Cooper.
Stoke City: Haugaard; Banks, Scott, Dunwoody, Da Silva; Sweeney, Hill, Waddington, Campbell; Shenton, McJannett.
SCORE: 1-0, Cooper 26'. 2-0, Porter 39'. 3-0, Nolan 43'. 3-1, Waddington 86'.
REFEREE: Trevor Kettle (ENG)
INCIDENTS: Pre-season friendly fixture between Crewe and Stoke City. 2528 in attendance, 555 away fans.

Crewe Alexandra warmed up in the perfect fashion for their Sky Bet League Two opener with Mansfield Town next week, hammering a youthful Stoke City XI 3-1 at Gresty Road. 

20-year-old George Cooper was the star of the show, picking up a goal and an assist on a day where the Potters back-line simply couldn't live with him.

Crewe quick out of the blocks

With the home fans somewhat disappointed at the rain coming down coinciding with the team-sheets showing no 'star' players being brought by Stoke, their team did their best to give them something to shout about with a strong start.

Eddie Nolan registered the game's first shot on goal just two minutes in after some impressive technique aided him in bringing the ball down from a set-piece, his shot blocked away for a corner by the Stoke defence.

It really should have been 1-0 from the resulting corner, as George Cooper's inviting ball in fell straight to the head of new signing Chris Porter, only for the midfielder to somehow nod wide of goal.

Stoke had something of a chance in the opening stages when Crewe goalkeeper Ben Garratt was made to rush out and clear a poor back-pass, but the Premier League side's slow star was made evident by a poor challenge from Mark Waddington on Callum Ainley, one the youngster was lucky to get away without a booking for.

Corker from Cooper opens scoring

The deadlock was broken on the 26 minute mark, Crewe going ahead thanks to a fine goal from Cooper.

Sloppy Stoke passing in the middle third allowed the Alex to leap onto the ball, shifting it quickly through midfield before Cooper, picking the ball up on the left, skipped around Lewis Banks and fired across goal past Jakob Haugaard from outside the area. 

Crewe move into dominant position

Haugaard wouldn't have been best pleased with his efforts for Cooper's goal, but had fewer excuses as the hosts doubled their lead before half-time. A lethargic cross into the area looked unlikely to trouble Stoke even when Porter got his head to it, his attempt somehow squirming underneath the 'keeper and into the net for 2-0.

A third came just five minutes later as the rain once again begun to crash down, with Stoke's gamble on a high-line not paying off.

With a Crewe corner taken short, the away back-line rushed out in an attempt to catch their opponents offside, only for Cooper's cross towards Nolan to be timed perfectly enough for the defender to nod past a helpless Haugaard. 

Little change in second 45

As the second-half got underway, the impressive George Cooper showed no sign of slowing down, twice in the resuming minutes winning the ball back and forcing Haugaard into action with an impressive ball in.

Continuing to be the man to watch, Cooper followed up a brief exchange of handbags with Lewis Banks by sending the first strike of the half into the side-netting. 

With Ben Garratt yet to be tested at the other end, Haugaard was forced into action once more from a Cooper free-kick, Chris Dagnall's header flying straight into the 'keeper's hands.

Crewe continued to dominate proceedings and should have made it four as a long ball forward resulted in an extremely well worked attack, Dagnall disappointed to fluff his lines and fire wide at the back-post. 

Potters pull one back

Stoke did manage to pull one back just minutes from time through Waddington, giving their away contingent of around 500 something to cheer.

Coming onto his right foot from the left-hand side, Waddington bent a lovely effort into the corner of the net, just past the out-stretched hands of Garratt.

That shot, Stoke's first on target of the game, proved to be the last meaningful action of an afternoon where the experienced pro's simply had too much for the youngsters.

 


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