Crewe Alexandra ended Rochdale’s dreams of FA youth cup glory for another year with a 2-1 win at Spotland, thanks to an 88th winner from Callum Saunders. It was cruel blow for Rochdale who tended to be the better side throughout the game, which had been hampered by terrible conditions.
Rochdale created the first opportunity of the match when from a Crewe free kick, Rochdale counter attached but Andrew Cannon saw his deflected effort go just inches wide of the post. Moments later a powerful strike from Callum Camps tested the Crewe goalkeeper; however the Keeper was able to save comfortably.
Cannon and Camps were starting to get more involved in the game and both saw effects go just wide of the goals, with the latter also having an ambitious free kick go past the post.
Crewe should have taken the lead when some neat play from Fraser Murdoch and Callum Saunders, saw Saunders go through only for his dinked effort to come back off the post and from the follow up Saunders was twice denied first from a brave goal line block from Omar Sinclair and then from a Dale Keeper Aaron Ashley.
On the 25th minute the deadlock was broken and it was the link up play of the Crewe forwards again which unlocked the Rochdale defence. This time Saunders became provider, crossing the ball from the left to find Murdoch, who heading home from just outside the six yard area.
Rochdale almost levelled in bizarre circumstances when Crewe keeper who appeared to have all the time in the world kicked his clearance off of Billy Hasler-Cregg but unfortunately for Rochdale, the keeper was able to recover in time before the ball crossed the line.
In first half injury time Rochdale drew level, Crewe failed to clear their lines from a Rochdale corner and Abayomi Samuels was able to poke the ball past the stretching arm of the Crewe Keeper which was no less than Rochdale deserved.
Rochdale started the brighter of two teams in the second half and he was Camps again who was looking the most dangerous, seeing his long range effort go wide of the goal.
Cannon was next to see his effort saved by the Crewe keeper, when his low driving effort was well gathered by the keeper after Cannon had been set up by Dimitri Tuanzebe following some good hold up play.
Crewe’s first chance of the second half fell to Murdoch but his tame header could only drift wide of the Rochdale goal, while Chris Speed then saw his effort sail over the Rochdale bar.
Wet and Windy conditions limited chances in the second half. Cannon was next to try his luck, however his left footed strike from outside the area wasn’t enough to trouble the Crewe keeper.
Crewe grabbed the winner in the 88th minute when a long ball from the Crewe defence was flicked on by Murdoch to Saunders, who raced through on goal and calmly lifted the ball over the on rushing Ashley and secured Crewe’s place in the third round against Bristol Rovers.
Rochdale AFC(4-3-3): Aaron Ashley, Abayomi Samuels, James Hooper, Shaquille Antoine- Clarke, Omar Sinclair, Billy Hasler- Cregg, Connor Martin ©, Andrew Cannon , Daniel Whitehall, Callum Camps, Dimitri Tuanzebe (Nyal Bell, 86).
Crewe Alexandra FC (4-4-2): Robbie Johnson, James Ballie, Joe Kearns (Dominic Smith, 89), James Jones, Louis Johnson, Perry Ng, Chris Speed (Joe Howell, 80), Ryan Allock, Callum Saunders, Fraser Murdoch, George Cooper.