Crewe Alexandra 1-2 Bolton Wanderers

  • August 09, 2017 | By Chris Mann
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Bolton bounced back from their opening-day defeat to Leeds United by progressing in the Carabao Cup, coming from behind to win 2-1 at Crewe Alexandra.

In a much-changed side to the one that took to the field on Sunday, Wanderers fell behind five minutes before the break at the Alexandra Stadium as Chris Porter was afforded too much time and space to head unopposed past a helpless Ben Alnwick.

The visitors, clearly struggling and destined for a first-round exit for the third successive season, were boosted by a triple substitution midway through the second-half and got themselves on level terms with 20 minutes to play as Adam Armstrong tapped home following a neat move involving Antonee Robinson and Will Buckley.

From that point on, there was only going to be one winner and so it proved. Filipe Morais, on as a substitute for his first appearance of the campaign, whipped a dangerous free-kick into the Crewe area where Derik Osede rose highest to nod his first goal in Bolton colours and seal their progression into round two.

Fresh from signing a new contract with the club, Phil Parkinson made 10 changes to the Bolton side that was beaten by Leeds United on Sunday - with Stephen Darby moving alongside Osede and Reece Burke in a back-three, allowing for Mark Little to make his debut at right-wing-back.

There were also full debuts for Buckley, Robinson, Aaron Wilbraham and Armstrong, the latter two of whom made up the Wanderers attack.

Both sides were slow to get started and it wasn't until the 10th minute that the first chance arrived, but Osede couldn't direct his effort on-target from the edge of the Crewe box.

Osede, yet to score in Wanderers colours, tried again five minutes later as he found himself in unfamiliar territory from a corner, but once again he was left frustrated as his flicked effort rolled wide of the far post.

Darren Pratley, back in the team after recovering from a virus, brought ironic cheers from the home support midway the half when his strike from the left-hand corner of the penalty area flashed across goal and out for a throw-in, moments before Porter was inches away from making the desired contact which would surely have broken the deadlock at the other end.

Porter was Crewe's most dangerous player at this stage and came close again on 37 minutes, heading over from close range, but he did find the net three minutes before the interval as he got on the end of a cross from George Cooper and headed past Alnwick.

Buckley volleyed straight at Ben Garratt as Bolton looked for an immediate response, but they went in behind at the break courtesy of Cooper's header.

There were no changes to either side as the players emerged for the start of the second period, which began with Chris Dagnall seeing a header deflected wide for the hosts, as he got on the end of a cross from Perry Ng.

Porter drilled a strike narrowly over the crossbar moments later, before Alnwick pulled off an outstanding save to prevent a cross-cum-shot from Dagnall being turned into the net by a combination of Porter and Osede.

Brad Walker shot agonisingly wide of the target from the resulting corner, shortly before Parkinson made a triple substitution to save his struggling Wanderers team - introducing Morais, Jem Karacan and Gary Madine in place of Little, Pratley and Wilbraham.

Despite those changes, Crewe came so close to doubling their lead when a long-range strike from Porter crashed back off the crossbar, but the visitors were level just three minutes later as Armstrong netted his first goal since joining on loan from Newcastle United.

Having received the ball on the left-flank, Robinson advanced towards the penalty area and played a neat ball through to Buckley. With the angle narrowing, the former Brighton & Hove Albion winger cut it back to Armstrong, who had the simple task of tapping into an empty net.

Bolton continued to push for a winner from that point on and it arrived with nine minutes to play, as a floated free-kick from Morais found Osede, who beat Garratt in the air to head in from six yards.

George Cooper saw a shot deflect behind as Crewe looked to force extra-time, but the League Two side couldn't find a way through and it was Wanderers who booked their place in round two for the first time in three seasons.

Parkinson's side have little time to recover before they return to action, which is on Saturday afternoon when they return to Championship action against fellow promoted side Millwall at The Den.

Crewe Alexandra: Garratt, Nolan, Raynes, Walker (Bowery 87), Ng, Porter, Wintle, Lowery, Cooper, Ainley (Pickering 84), Dagnall
Subs Not Used: Richards, Dale, Kirk, Finney, Sass-Davies
Booked: Walker
Goals: Porter 42

Bolton Wanderers: Alnwick, Osede, Burke, Darby, Robinson, Little (Morais 66), Pratley (Karacan 67), Earing, Buckley, Armstrong, Wilbraham (Madine 66)
Subs Not Used: Howard, A Taylor, Le Fondre, Brockbank
Booked: Pratley
Goals: Armstrong 70, Osede 81

Referee: Mark Heywood
Attendance: 3,167

Sky Bet League One Standings

Pos Team Pld Pts
14 Charlton Athletic 21 26
15 Cambridge United 21 26
16 Bolton Wanderers 21 26
17 AFC Wimbledon 19 24
18 Lincoln City 20 21
View Full Standings >>


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