Crewe progressed to the 4th Round of the Irish Cup as they came back from 2 goals down in extra time to win on penalties.
Crewe United 2 St James’ Swifts 2 (AET)
Crewe win 4-3 on penalties
The first half was dominated by Crewe in terms of possession but St James’ always looked dangerous on the break and had a couple of half chances down the right hand side but on both occasions the shots were dragged wide of Matson’s Crewe goal. The blustery conditions made it difficult for both sides.
The Swifts could have taken the lead as they hit the Crewe post but the ball bounced to safety.
Crewe looked abut disjointed without their injured talisman Dan Smith as chances were few and far between despite having most of the ball.
HT: Crewe United 0 St James’ Swifts 0
The second half was much more evenly contested. Crewe replaced McDonald and Kelly at half time and introduced Gerard Mallon and Eamonn McAllister but the half was much more evenly contested.
Mallon missed a great chance for Crewe and Dylan Whiteway made an unbelievable last ditch clearance off the line in the dying seconds of the half to keep Crewe in the tie. Fra Nolan was dismissed on 90 minutes after complaining to the referee.
FT: Crewe United 0 St James’ Swifts 0
The opening half of Extra time couldn’t have been any worse for Crewe as Ciaran Rooney opened the scoring as the Glenavy side continued with a lethargy that punctuated the match. Ciaran Hyland piled on the misery after a mix up in the home defence and it looked to have sealed the tie.
However, Crewe showed real grit and determination in the second period of extra time, as Conor Maxwell converted a spot kick after McAllister was hauled the the ground. Michael Feerick was dismissed in the same incident after his second yellow of the game.
Crewe then piled on the pressure and Conan Russell made a couple of superb saves for the Swifts. However, McAllister scored the equaliser in the last minute of extra time to send the game to penalties as he slotted him from 6 yards out.
Crewe went on to win 4-3 on penalties after an early miss from Maxwell from the spot for Crewe was cancelled out as Christian Matson made two super saves from Hyland and Donnelly with Mallon scoring the winning penalty to book Crewe into Round 4.
Overall it was a below par performance from Crewe but they dug deep to keep themselves in the tie against a very good St James’ side and we look forward to the 4th Round draw.
The day however was more than just about football. It was great to mark our first ever Senior game against St James’ with a celebration of youth sections in each club.
Around 50 boys and girls played before the game and at half time and it was great to see the kids enjoying football and it was a great effort from both clubs. Many thanks to the parents who, along with the kids, braved the bad weather. A special mention too for all the coaches from both clubs who made it happen. A great occasion for both clubs.
Best of luck to all the St James’ Swifts sides for the rest of the season.