Crewe Alexandra 2-3 Bolton Wanderers - AET

  • August 26, 2014 | By Chris Mann
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Bolton moved into the third round of the League Cup for the first time in three years, as they beat Crewe Alexandra 3-2 at the Alexandra Stadium - after extra-time.

The Railwaymen took the lead inside two minutes on their home turf, as Bradden Inman cut inside Oscar Threlkeld before curling a shot into the bottom corner of Andy Lonergan's net, but Wanderers were level before the break as Darren Pratley headed home unopposed on 40 minutes.

Jermaine Beckford thought he'd won it for Wanderers when he volleyed home in second-half stoppage time, but Crewe took the game into extra-time as substitute Marcus Haber equalised in the final minute.

There was to be a goal inside the extra 30 minutes, sparing the two sides a penalty shoot-out, as Beckford fired past Ben Garratt two minutes into the second-period to send the Trotters into round three.

Wanderers boss Dougie Freedman made nine changes to the side that lost at Brighton & Hove Albion last time out, with Tim Ream and Matt Mills the only players to retain their places. With Jay Spearing absent, Mills took the captain's armband.

Having advanced into the second round with a fortunate victory over Bury in the previous round, Bolton needed an improved performance at the Alexandra Stadium. But their worst fears came true inside two minutes, as Inman was given the freedom of the pitch to run beyond Oscar Threlkeld before curling the ball beyond Andy Lonergan to open the scoring.

Crewe were well on top in the early stages and came close to doubling their lead six minutes later, only for Lonergan to parry away Chris Atkinson's goalbound shot, before Oliver Turton struck a half-volley over the bar moments later.

A long-range strike from Inman just flashed over the crossbar as the hosts continued to press forward, before Bolton's first chance came to nothing as Beckford sliced wide on the quarter-hour.

Crewe were awarded a corner after Billy Waters' overhead attempt was deflected behind on 20 minutes, from which George Ray saw a header cannon back off the bar with Lonergan stranded on his line.

Ben Garratt made his first save of the evening at the midway point of the half, as he held on to a weak free-kick from Liam Feeney, before both sides were granted a break as match referee Tony Harrington left the field with an apparent muscle injury. Mark Astley, who started the game as fourth official, took his place.

Atkinson drilled a free-kick straight into the Wanderers wall once play had resumed, before a cross-cum-shot from Feeney caused panic in the Crewe defence as the visitors came close to an equalising goal.

Beckford and Liam Trotter both came close as the game passed the half-hour, while Feeney brought Garratt into action, before pressure from the visitors paid off with arguably the best move of the half.

Wanderers won the ball in dangerous territory after pressure from Beckford, who played the ball out wide to Feeney. The former Millwall winger picked out an unmarked Pratley at the back post, who had the simple task of heading the ball home from close range to bring the score level.

Inman and Vadaine Oliver both came close to restoring Crewe's lead inside six minute of stoppage time, but Lonergan was in fine form to ensure the two sides went in level at half-time.

There were no changes to either side at the start of the second period, which started brightly for Wanderers - with Neil Danns almost picking out Beckford at the far post.

Possession was key as the game approached and passed the hour, with nothing in the way of goalmouth action to report. In fact, the first chance fell the way of the visitors, with a one-two between Beckford and Conor Wilkinson ending with the former bringing a good save out of Garratt.

Joe Mason and Lee Chung-Yong came on for Wilkinson and Chris Lester at the midway point of the half, while Haber replaced Oliver for the hosts.

Waters brought a smart stop out of Lonergan with 18 minutes to go, before play was halted as Ray received lengthy treatment on the pitch - which would later contribute to eight minutes of stoppage time being added by the fourth official.

Once play had resumed, Matt Tootle fired wide for Crewe, before Danns saw a goalbound strike charged down by an Alex defender inside the final five minutes.

Dorian Dervite and Beckford both came close to winning it in the latter stages of normal time, before Beckford volleyed home from a narrow angle inside the second minute of stoppage time to seemingly book Wanderers' place in the next round.

Crewe wouldn't lie down, though, and took the game into extra-time in the 98th minute as Haber headed past Lonergan after taking advantage of some slack defending in the Bolton backline.

Lonergan was at full stretch to tip a Haber header onto the crossbar in the first period of extra-time, while Mason headed wide at the other end after an excellent cross from Feeney.

Garratt saved from Dervite as the game passed minute 100, before the first extra period came to a close with Waters twice coming close to putting the hosts ahead.

The second-half of extra-time began just the way Bolton wanted and they booked their place in round three as Beckford netted his second of the night by firing past Garratt just 90 seconds after play had resumed.

The former Leeds United forward came close to bagging a hat-trick, three minutes from time, as his deflected shot rolled agonisingly wide of the post, but the final result went in favour of Wanderers, who travel to their match-winner's former club on Saturday.

Crewe Alexandra: Garratt, Tootle, Dugdale, Ray (Leigh 77), Guthrie, Turton, Atkinson (Grant 87), Nolan, Waters, Oliver (Haber 69), Inman
Subs Not Used: Shearer, Cooper, Saunders, Molyneux
Goals: Inman 2, Haber 90+8

Bolton Wanderers: Lonergan, Threlkeld, Mills, Dervite, Ream, Feeney, Pratley, Trotter (Danns 45), Lester (Chung-Yong 69), Wilkinson (Mason 68), Beckford
Subs Not Used: Hughes, Wheater, Kamara, Fitzsimons
Booked: Pratley
Goals: Pratley 40, Beckford 90+2, 107

Referee: Tony Harrington (Mark Astley)
Attendance: 2,642

Sky Bet League One Standings

Pos Team Pld Pts
2 Peterborough United 4 9
3 Portsmouth 4 8
4 Bolton Wanderers 4 8
5 Exeter City 4 7
6 Charlton Athletic 4 7
View Full Standings >>


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