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Match Reports

MATCH REPORT: CREWE ALEXANDRA (AWAY)

3 September 2019

THREE first half goals saw Albion record a solid 3-1 victory over League Two side Crewe Alexandra to get their Leasing.Com Trophy campaign under way at Gresty Road.

Stephen Quinn grabbed his first of the season with a fine strike less than a quarter of an hour into the game before Scott Fraser bagged his fifth of the campaign and Lucas Akins made it two goals in as many games for a rampant Brewers.

Crewe came back into the game in the second half and grabbed a consolation through Paul Green but it was not enough to deny Albion a first ever win in the competition at the eleventh attempt.

Boss Nigel Clough made three changes for the trip to Gresty Road with two of them enforced by injuries within the squad. Both Jake Buxton (ribs) and Liam Boyce (hamstring) took no part in the game and Oliver Sarkic dropped down to the bench. Reece Hutchinson came in for his second start of the season having featured in the Carabao Cup victory at Port Vale and there were first starts of the campaign for both Joe Sbarra and David Templeton.

Crewe started brightly and their skipper, Perry Ng, had the first effort on goal after three minutes finding room inside the box for an angled shot that Kieran O'Hara got himself completely behind to snuff out the danger. And the Brewers keeper was smartly off his line to cut out a low cross by Charlie Kirk after the young winger had managed to get in behind the Brewers back line.

But Albion grew into the game and snatched the lead on 13 minutes. A poor ball out from keeper Dave Richards had the home defence under pressure and Albion's high press was fully effective when Akins nicked possession and fed QUINN who strode forward before unerringly finding the bottom corner of Richards' net.

It should have been two a couple of minutes later when Sbarra found himself inside the box with just the keeper to beat but in trying to find the same corner as Quinn slid his effort inches wide of the post. A great chance to notch up that first senior goal.

Twenty-four minutes in and it was 2-0 to the Brewers as John-Joe O'Toole picked out the forward run of FRASER who brought the ball under his control before an impudent lob from just inside the box found the back of the net.

Albion almost undid their own good work on 38 minutes when a loose clearance from O'Hara was intercepted in midfield. a deep cross picking out Rio Adebisi at the back post and the striker just delaying his shot long enough for O'Hara to rush out and block, almost at the feet of the Crewe front man.

As half time approached there could easily have been two more goals in the game, firstly Quinn sent Edwards clean through on goal but unlike at the weekend he could not beat the keeper one on one and as Crewe tried to half the deficit before the break Owen Dale pulled a left foot shot just wide of the target.

However Albion put themselves three in front in first half stoppage when AKINS picked up the ball on the edge of the box and worked his way into a central position before drilling a left foot shot between Richards and his left hand post. 3-0 at the break and Albion seemingly in cruise control mode.

Half time: Crewe Alexandra 0-3 Burton Albion

Crewe boss David Artell made all three of his substitutions at the start of the second half with Harry Pickering, Ryan Wintle and the experienced Green all brought on in midfield to try and prompt an inprovement for the home side.

There was plenty of concerned looks on the Burton bench when Fraser went down, clearly in some discomfort less than five minutes after the restart but the influential midfielder was back in the action after gingerly leaving the field after treatment.

The home side were enjoying more of the ball in the middle of the park as a result of their changes with Green trying to pull the strings. The former Doncaster and Derby midfielder went closest to a goal for the Railwaymen on 70 minutes when Kirk showed plenty more of his promise to cut inside and pick him out, Green dragging his shot just wide.

Oliver Sarkic replaced Templeton for the final twenty minutes and he was instrumental in winning a corner that found Brayford at the back post with Albion's skipper on the evening heading against the post. And the ex-Crewe defender forced a good save from Richards with a thunderous volley on 75 minutes after Akins had picked out his advanced run.

Albion were starting to assert themselves again and Sbarra was inches away from that elusive first goal when Wallace's searching ball down the left found Sarkic and his cross was tantalisingly just too far in front of the Albion academy product.

Sarkic was next to go close to a first Burton goal with a curling, dipping effort just over the crossbar with ten minutes to play after more excellent play from Brayford.

Brayford and Kirk then found themselves in referee Anthony Backhouse's notebook for squaring up to one another after the Crewe man had fouled Brayford.

It was the last action of the game for the Burton skipper whose withdrawal from the action gave Jevan Anderson his first senior minutes in an Albion shirt.

Green got himself on the scoresheet with three minutes remaining, ruining Albion's clean sheet, with a well controlled finish after Adebisi picked out his run. And the home side almost set up a barnstorming finish when Kirk sped away down the left and crossed through the six yard box only for both Adebisi and Dale to fail to make contact for a certain second goal.

Albion finished the game with Chris Beardsley up top as Fraser came off in stoppage time but it was a satisfying night for the Brewers as they continued their winning run in all competitions.


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