Full-time report: Crewe Alexandra 0 Stevenage 3
- Credit: Kevin Coleman
Morais scores two and Freeman the other as Boro win on the road
Crewe Alexandra 0 Stevenage 3
SkyBet League 1
Three goals in a 10 minute first-half salvo from Stevenage left their hosts stunned and saw Boro help themselves to all three points this evening (Tuesday).
It was a scintillating spell of football, but in truth Boro could, and maybe should, have had even more such was the way in which they fused swift attacking play when in possession with measured defending without it.
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Graham Westley made two changes to the side that lost at Walsall on Saturday with the suspended David Gray and Lucas Akins being replaced by Simon Heslop and Greg Tansey.
Heslop was booked with eight minutes of the match gone for a hard challenge on Abdul Osman, and up until that point the game had rarely threatened to be one that lived long in the memory.
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Yet then a burst of three goals in the space of 10 minutes from Stevenage put the visitors in a strong position, and it left the home crowd in stunned silence after the initial boos had faded out.
The first goal came from a silky finish from Filipe Morais, the second a Luke Freeman effort that took a deflection and then the third a magnificent curled shot, also from Morais, that drifted slowly into the top corner.
The first of the three began with a flick on by Francois Zoko. In recent matches a scorer of goals, here he turned provider and from his flick the defence pushed up to leave Morais onside and the Portuguese dinked a soft shot over the grounded Steve Phillips to put his side ahead.
The Boro fans’ bums had only just been seated when their side doubled the advantage.
Heslop was then involved, putting Luke Freeman through and the spritely wide man hit his shot low with the keeper getting a touch before the ball bounced into the net off the face of Anthony Grant.
Morais then added to his earlier delightful finish with a strike that was superior. With a defence backing off he made it two for the evening when he spotted Phillips slightly off his line and curled in a superb shot past the keeper and into the top corner.
The salvo had left the hosts stunned to the point that it could actually have been 4-0 by half-time only for Tansey to fall backwards when trying to convert a chance from 16 yards with his resulting shot firing over the bar.
The only thing missing from Zoko’s overall performance was a goal, and he was a lick of paint away to putting that right five minutes into the second half.
With just a full-back to beat, the frontman turned his marker before closing in on goal and from the tightest of angles he chipped the goalkeeper only to find the woodwork instead.
Crewe made a change and brought on Ajay Leitch-Smith for Lee Molyneux, and although they began to see more of the ball they still struggled to get the better of a robust and organised Stevenage defence.
It was Boro who continued to have the better of the chances and shortly after replacing Tansey, James Dunne broke through only for Phillips to get a strong hand to the shot low to his right.
When Crewe did finally create a chance of note, it fell to former Boro loanee Chuks Aneke whose low drive, after a lost cause had been rescued in the corner by a team-mate, was stopped by Chris Day.
There was another opportunity for the hosts with just over five minutes remaining, this time substitute Vadaine Oliver glancing a header wide of the Boro goal for the last chance of the match.
There was a feeling early in this half that for all of their hard work, Crewe would fail to breach the Stevenage back line. And so it was, with Graham Westley’s men fully deserving of three goals and three points.
Crewe: Phillips, Tootle, Mellor, Ellis, Dugdale, Osman, Moore, Nolan (Oliver 66), Molyneux (Leitch-Smith 57), Aneke, Grant. Subs: Garrett, Clayton, Ray, Guthrie, Waters.
Stevenage: Day, Smith, Hartley, Ashton, Jones, Heslop, Doughty, Freeman, Tansey (Dunne 66), Morais (Parrett), Zoko. Subs: Arnold, Burrow, Andrade, Tounkara.
Ref: Stephen Martin
Att: 3,682 (75 away)