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Match Reports

REPORT | Crewe Alexandra 0 Rovers 2

6 May 2024

Match Reports

REPORT | Crewe Alexandra 0 Rovers 2

6 May 2024

Ruthless Rovers claimed a deserved two-goal advantage heading into the second leg of the play-off semi-final with an excellent performance at Crewe Alexandra.

Goals from Luke Molyneux and Harrison Biggins saw Rovers shake off a nervy start to take a firm grip on the tie with the second leg to come at the Eco-Power Stadium.

Crewe began the game at a tremendous pace but once Rovers settled, they took control and made their opportunities in front of goal count.

Grant McCann made one change to the side that started the draw at Gillingham with Biggins returning from injury.

The hosts made the livelier start. Elliott Nevitt sent a tame header at Thimothée Lo-Tutala but the keeper was given a much more stern test moments later when Rio Adebisi darted onto a long throw and powered the ball on goal from close range.

Hakeeb Adelakun spurned an opportunity to get a shot away after racing into the box, allowing Crewe to clear.

Tom Anderson produced the heroics moments later, after a slip allowed Crewe to race into the box two-on-one. The centre half made a vital sliding block as Shilow Tracy looked to square for Nevitt, before hacking the ball clear.

Rovers settled through the midpoint of the half but there remained a frenetic pace to the game. The first real opportunity came on 25 minutes from a slick passing move only for Luke Molyneux to slip as he fired on goal from 25 yards, making for a simple save for Crewe keeper Max Stryjek.

Rovers took the lead on 35 minutes. Matthew Craig exchanged passes with Adelakun and hit the byline before cutting back Molyneux to rifle first time into the roof of the net.

Matus Holicek cut inside from the left and lashed a shot narrowly over the bar from 35 yards for the hosts.

Biggins clipped the crossbar with a first time strike from an Adelakun pass while skipper Richard Wood twice saw shots blocked when the ball fell to him inside the box late in the half.

It took three minutes of the second half for Rovers to extend the advantage. Joe Ironside pounced on a mistake at the back for the hosts and raced into the box before cutting back for the on-rushing Biggins, who swept home first time from 15 yards.

It was the last act of the game for the midfielder, who was forced off through injury in the aftermath of the goal and replaced by Tommy Rowe.

Rovers were largely in control of possession after the second goal, limiting Crewe to very little.

A stinging volley from Owen Bailey drew a save from Stryjek as the game became a much more tame affair.

Substitute Chris Long diverted a goalbound header from Zac Williams over the bar in a rare moment of threat from Crewe.

Rowe drew another save from Stryjek with a low drive from 20 yards as the game ticked into the final ten minutes while Molyneux forced the Crewe keeper into a reaction save at his near post with a rasping drive.

Rovers: Lo-Tutala, Sterry, Anderson, Wood, Maxwell, Craig (Broadbent 85), Molyneux, Bailey, Biggins (Rowe 51), Adelakun (Hurst 75), Ironside. Subs not used: Jones, Olowu, Westbrooke, Broadbent, Waters.

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