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23 September 2017 Venue Alexandra Stadium Attendance

Kick off 15:00 (UK)

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English Football League - League Two

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Match Previews

HERE'S LOOKING AT YOU: Crewe Alexandra

A closer look at this weekend's opponents

22 September 2017

The Blues’ Sky Bet League Two season continues this weekend as we make the relatively short trip to Crewe.

After a promising second half performance against Barnet last week, the Blues will be hoping to go one better than the point they picked up at Brunton Park last week.

But Saturday’s hosts will be keen to reverse their own disappointing run of form and pick up a vital home victory.

We put Crewe under the spotlight ahead of our trip to Gresty Road:

Looking to Bounce Back

Crewe boss David Artell has said his side are targeting a more ‘complete performance’ when the Cumbrians come to town as they target a response following back-to-back defeats.

The Railwaymen’s start to the season has been mixed, and they currently sit only three points and three places above the Blues in 15th.

For while their last two outings have ended in defeats to Exeter and Cambridge, their prior form was rather more encouraging.

They defeated Chesterfield 5-1 and picked up wins against Port Vale and Barnet with further points coming from draws with Newport and Mansfield.

There’s enough from those results to suggest that Artell’s men certainly have the potential to hurt teams, and they’ll be looking to bounce back to their previous form this weekend.

Familiar Faces

There’s a number of familiar faces in both camps this weekend who will be keen to get one over on their former employers.

Centre back Michael Raynes departed Brunton Park after two years this summer and made the move to Crewe where he has eight appearances in all competitions so far this season.

Meanwhile in the Blues’ camp, both Mark Ellis and Shaun Miller will be returning to a familiar haunt.

Ellis spent two years at Gresty Road, making over 90 appearances for the club during a successful spell.

Miller began his career at Crewe and was at the club for over six years where he impressed many with an excellent goal return before moving to Sheffield United.

What Does History Tell Us?

The two sides have met regularly over the years and there’s literally nothing to separate them with both teams having claimed 36 victories apiece from our 86 meetings.

In recent years it’s Crewe who have slightly shaded the meetings however, with the Alex unbeaten against the Blues in our last three meetings.

United’s last triumph over Crewe came back in 2013 when goals from Matty Robson and Sean O’Hanlon saw the Cumbrians claim three points at Brunton Park.

Watch highlights of last season's away game here:

Eight Years and Waiting

While the trip to Gresty Road is one of the shorter ones for United, it hasn’t been a particularly fruitful journey in recent years.

You have to go back to March 2009 for the last time the Blues won at Crewe, as they triumphed 2-1 thanks to goals from loanee Gareth Taylor and Joe Anyinsah.

Keith Curle will be hoping to reverse that record this weekend.

Ones to Watch

+ Ben Garratt - A product of Crewe’s famous youth academy, the young goalkeeper has now made over 170 professional appearances after bursting onto the scene in 2012/13. The 23-year-old won the Railwaymen’s Player of the Season accolade in 2015 and 2016 and has also represented England at U17 level in the 2011 World Cup. Garratt has now become a key member of Artell’s squad and will be pivotal this season - he certainly provides a reliable last line of defence for Crewe.

+ George Cooper - Another player who came through the Railwaymen’s renowned youth setup, the creative midfielder enjoyed a phenomenal 2016/17 campaign. A regular starter under Artell, Cooper netted ten times and claimed a further 14 assists in his 53 appearances, with sides starting to sit up and take notice of the 20-year-old. If he can perform as well this season, then Crewe will have a real attacking threat on their hands.

+ Chris Porter - Porter offers a bit more experience in a relatively young Crewe side having spent time at the likes of Oldham, Motherwell, Derby County and Sheffield United. His most recent spell came with Colchester United, where his 16 goals last season encouraged Artell to pull out all the stops to lure him to Gresty Road this summer. A physical presence and a fine finisher, Porter could be the man to fire Crewe up the table this season. And with a partnership with Chris Dagnall starting to blossom, it could see the Alex cause opposition teams plenty of problems.

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Match Reports

MATCH REPORT: Crewe 0 - 5 United

Report from the Saturday afternoon away game

23 September 2017

United were at the Alexandra Stadium on Saturday afternoon for their latest Sky Bet League Two fixture.

Carlisle turned on the style as the goals rained in from a superb performance at Gresty Road. They scored five, and it could have been more as they created chance after chance against a demoralised home outfit.

Excellent closing down from Shaun Miller set the tone for United as he crowded Garratt into a corner with just minutes on the clock. Crewe broke from his hurried clearance but debut boy Clint Hill stepped across to hook it away as Dagnall tried to break through.

A huge kick from George caught the hosts unawares and Lambe did well to lay it off for Adams as he took it under his control. A first time shot had good intention but it curled high into the sky.

Crewe responded with a slick attack which found Wintle in space on the right. His low cross begged for a touch from Dagnall and Porter but neither could get there as the slightest of glances from Hill was enough to put them off.

United almost dug themselves into a hole on ten minutes when a pass back from Parkes was sliced heavily by George. He was relieved to see it spin to safety at his back post.

Carlisle were rewarded for their patient approach play when captain Danny Grainger took over from Nicky Adams on the left flank in acres of space. He sized up his options and left Garratt with no chance as he drilled an unstoppable long range shot into the bottom corner.

A wonderful long range pass from Hill set Grainger on a run again moments later and he quickly fed the ball to Adams on the edge of the box. The shot from the midfielder was deflected behind for a corner and Hill was on hand to head that back into the mix. Grainger spun on the spot and let one fly and his effort whipped just wide with the stopper well beaten. 

Crewe looked to bounce back and a fortunate ricochet off Jones left Dagnall with room to work in. He crossed quickly but Brown was able to guide it behind. Carlisle nearly caught the home side on the break when Lambe fed Etuhu on the overlap. His cross found Miller and Garratt was relieved to see the glanced header drop just past his upright.

The Blues had a great chance to extend their lead from the resulting corner as Hill peeled away at the back stick. He found Parkes with a cushioned header but both he and Miller sliced their shots and the moment was gone.

Porter had a half chance for the Alex just before the break when he tried to make something of a loose ball on the edge of the area. It was on target but Parkes took the sting out of it and George saved comfortably.

The Cumbrians were gifted a second goal just after the break when former-Blue Michael Raynes, who left Carlisle to join Crewe in the summer, got himself in a tangle as the ball bounced awkwardly off his thigh. Lambe was onto it in a flash and the big defender was left with his head in his hands as his attempt at a recovery tackle was judged to have been a foul by the referee. Danny Grainger placed the ball on the spot and rattled his second of the afternoon into the back of the net.

Joyce and Miller had further chances as the away side upped the pace, but they were both off-balance as they crunched their efforts into the stands. Etuhu started to pull strings in midfield and his accurate pass to Lambe brought a corner when his volley was diverted wide. 

The points were all-but bagged on 72 minutes when a fierce Grainger corner skipped off the surface. Big defender Michael Raynes could do nothing as it hit his boot and veered into the empty net. 

A wonderful through ball from Devitt rubbed salt into the wounds as Lambe beat the offside trap to get onto it. He drew the keeper and calmly slotted it past the dive to extend the lead to four goals.

Chris Dagnall missed a great opportunity to bag a consolation when he somehow sent the ball over the bar from close range late in the day. But it was Carlisle asking the questions as Lambe hit the post and Hope forced a good save from Garratt with the visitors looking to score every time they got forward.

And they did just that in time added on when Hope grabbed a fifth with the last kick of the game.

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Goals

Carlisle United - Grainger (13 & 48 pen), Raynes (og 72), Lambe (74), Hope (90)

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Bookings

Crewe Alexandra - Raynes (48)

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Teams

Crewe Alexandra - Garratt, Walker (Pickering 46), Raynes, Porter, Dagnall, Cooper, Nolan, Ainley, Wintle (Stubbs 59), Lowery, Grant (Dale 58). Subs - Richards, Bakayogo, Bowery, Kirk.

Carlisle United - George, Brown (T Miller 78), Hill, Parkes, Grainger, Etuhu (Devitt 68), Jones, Joyce, Lambe, Adams, S Miller (Hope 77). Subs - Bonham, Liddle, Bennett, Ellis.

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Referee - Ross Joyce

Attendance - 4,021 (662 away fans)

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