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Crewe U21s 1 Blues U21s 1

Posted: Wed 24 Oct 2012
Author: Andy Walker

Reece Hales

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Blues Under-21s settled for a point after an even encounter at Crewe Alexandra’s Reaseheath training ground.

Reece Hales had fired Richard Beale’s men into a 16th minute lead but Crewe’s Brendan Daniels levelled from a free-kick shortly before the break.

Blues centre-back Emmitt Delfouneso thought he had won it for Blues at the death when he pounced on the scraps from Jack Deaman’s low free-kick but James Fry had been flagged offside in the build up.

Reflecting on his side’s second consecutive draw in the Professional Development League 2 North, Beale was pleased overall.

The Development Squad Manager told “I thought it was a good competitive game. We started brightly and played some free-flowing, attacking football, as did Crewe which was great to see from two young teams.

“We took the lead through an excellent goal which was well worked and finished by Reece Hales. If we would have capitalised on two or three other chances during that early phase then the game would have been out of Crewe’s reach.

“What we always ask the players ahead of each match is that they come off at the end with a minimum rating of 7 out of 10. That’s always a sign that they’ve worked as hard as they can and that’s always a good base to build from.  They’ll find that the extra factors, such as the technical and tactical aspects, will then take care of themselves.”

Beale named a youthful line-up with first-year scholars Bobby Moseley and Liam Truslove, both 16, in his starting line-up. Goalkeeper David Lucas was the only senior played involved.

Highlighting Truslove’s contribution, Beale continued: “I thought Liam was excellent today. He showed real composure on for ball for his tender years and he delivered the required workrate.

“Liam has been at the club for a while and I’ve known him for a long time. To see him playing at that level was fantastic and if he keeps improving then he’s only going to go one way.”

The visitors approached the game positively and showed plenty of energy and drive right from the off. Marcel Henry-Francis had stung the palms of Crewe ‘keeper Steve Phillips with an effort from distance just a minute before Hales’ opener.

The 17-year-old striker, a second-year scholar, picked his spot from 18-yards with a low shot that slipped through the legs of his marker and nestled in the bottom left corner, giving Phillips no chance.

Crewe skipper Adam Dugdale wasted a glorious chance to equalise in the 33rd minute when he blazed over from a knock down six yards out before, at the opposite end, Delfouneso headed just wide from captain Josh Hawker’s free-kick moments later.

The hosts were coming on strongly and equalised when Daniels curled home a free-kick from 20 yards.

Both sides continued in the same vein after the break and Blues midfielder Truslove forced Phillips into a fine save lowdown in the 54th minute after picking up Jack Deaman’s short free-kick 25 yards out.

Truslove was shining in the middle for Blues and showed good footwork in the 75th minute to carve out space that allowed him to again test Phillips from 18 yards. Brice Ntambwe headed the resulting corner narrowly wide.

It looked as though Beale’s boys would be taking all three points back to Wast Hills when Delfouneso tapped home from close range with seconds left. However Deaman’s low free-kick took a touch on the way through and Fry was judged to have strayed into an off-side position.

Crewe Alexandra U21s: Steve Phillips, Paris Bateman, Greg Robertson, Adam Dugdale (C), George Ray, Jon Guthrie, Brendan Daniels, Liam Nolan, Harry Clayton, Billy Waters, Andy White.

Subs not used: T Appleton, B Garratt, M Ward, G Dahli, L Wilson.

Goal: Daniels (43)

Blues U21s: David Lucas; Jack Deaman, Emmitt Delfouneso, James Fry, Bobby Moseley (Viv Solomon 73); Ryan Higgins (Jean Kalenda 87), Brice Ntambwe, Liam Truslove, Josh Hawker (C); Reece Hales, Marcel Henry-Francis (Deqwon Ebanks 67).

Sub not used: Callum Preston.

Goal: Hales (16)