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CREWE 4 BLUES 1

Lee Bowyer in action against CreweBlues were beaten 4-1 by Cre we Alexandra on Tuesday evening, but the scoreline was not necessarily a fair reflection of the game.

Alex McLeish's side dominated the first half and deservedly took the lead through James McFadden, but then saw the wind taken out of their sails when Crewe equalised right on the stroke of half time.

Then in the second half everything that Crewe tried seemed to come off and they were far the better team and in truth deserving of their victory based on the second 45 minutes of the game.

McLeish sent out a strong side to face the League Two side.

Joe Hart started in goal, with Stuart Parnaby at left back, Franck Queudrue and Roger Johnson in the centre of defence and Stephen Carr at right full back.

Across the middle of the park, Damien Johnson and Barry Ferguson occupied the central midfield spots; James McFadden was on the right and Irishman Keith Fahey on the left.

Up front Garry O'Connor was paired alongside Cameron Jerome.

garry o'connorOn a warm evening in Cheshire, the game started at a decent pace.

The first chance fell to the home side after just five minutes when Calvin Zola let fly with a low shot from the edge of the Blues box, which Hart saved comfortably low down.

Blues had a wonderful opportunity to take the lead after 11 minutes through Garry O'Connor, but just failed to do so.

Keith Fahey sent an inch perfect pass over the Crewe backline into the path of the on-running O'Connor, but with just keeper David Button to beat he fired the ball inches wide of the far post.

It took another five minutes for Blues' next opportunity, when McLeish's side were awarded a free kick 25 yards out, but despite striking it well, McFadden was not quite able to get it to dip enough and went a yard over.

But the midfielder was not to be denied on 17 minutes when his goal broke the deadlock.

Once again Fahey was the provider when his ball found McFadden some six yards out and he flicked it past a scrambling Button in the home goal. 1-0 Blues.

The lively O'Connor was next to try his luck, but again his 20 yard grass cutter just lacked direction and it swung away from the goal at the last moment.

Blues were made to make an enforced substitution on the half hour mark when Parnaby limped from the field with what appeared to be a calf injury, to be replaced by youngster Jared Wilson.

James mcfaddenAs the first half came to its conclusion Blues were looking to add to their advantage with several bouts of attacking play, but it was Crewe who scored somewhat against the run of play right on the stroke of half time.

The ball was launched into the Blues box, flicked on to Steven Schumacher at the far post to unleash a terrific volley past Hart and into the back of the net

Half time: Crewe 1 Blues 1

Gudjon Thordarson made one change to his side for the start of the second half, with Ashley Westwood replacing Billy Jones, whilst McLeish left his unchanged

Buoyed by their late first leveller Crewe began the second period of the game the brighter of the two sides and within five minutes of the restart they were in the lead for the first time after confusion in the Blues defence.

The ball was crossed in from the left by Crewe and with Queudrue facing his own goal net the centre half somehow managed to loop his header over his own keeper Hart for an own goal.

Barry fergusonWith Blues still shell-shocked they found themselves with a two goal deficit on 47 minutes when Joel Grant placed a low shot through a crowded Blues box and past the outstretched hands of Hart.

Blues would have been back in the game just minutes later, but the Crewe keeper Button brilliantly saved Fahey's spectacular volley.

On the hour mark McLeish made wholesale changes with the addition of four new Blues players in one go.

Seb Larsson, Lee Carsley, Kevin Phillips and Lee Bowyer replaced Keith Fahey, Franck Queudrue, Cameron Jerome and Barry Ferguson respectively.

But these changes had little effect because on 66 minutes Crewe found themselves 4-1 to the good when Mathew Mitchel-King beat his marker Carsley and drilled a powerful shot past the unfortunate Hart from just inside the box.

Thordarson made three changes of his own on 71 minutes as Maxime Chanot, James Bailey and Shaun Miller came on for Danny O'Donnell, Anthony Elding and Calvin Zola.

On 83 minutes, Blues had Hart to be grateful to again when the on-loan Man City keeper did brilliantly to tip Byron Moore's curling goal-bound effort around the post for a corner.

Blues now just have one more pre-season game against Spanish La Liga side Sporting Gijon on Saturday before their Barclays Premier League season kicks off with the sternest of tests against Manchester United.

Keith faheyFull time: Crewe 4 Blues 1

Blues: Joe Hart, Stephen Carr, Stuart Parnaby (Jared Wilson), Roger Johnson, Franck Queudrue (Lee Carsley), James McFadden, Damien Johnson, Barry Ferguson (Lee Bowyer), Keith Fahey (Seb Larsson), Garry O'Connor, Cameron Jerome (Kevin Phillips).
Subs not used: Maik Taylor, Gary McSheffrey.
Attendance: 1,827

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