Clinical Crewe defeat wasteful Grecians


Alex Kiwomya –

Alex Kiwomya has made a huge impression at Crewe Alexandra in just seven league games and the Chelsea loanee was on the scoresheet again against Exeter, Danny Hollands’ late goal completing a 2-0 win. The Grecians were ravaged by injury and while they had their moments, they weren’t clinical enough in the final third.

Crewe were clinical, but they did have to withstand spells of pressure, particularly at the start of both halves. Energized by vocal away fans, Exeter pressed high up the pitch early on, Jake Taylor given the license to push up aggressively from midfield. That was how they created a lot of their openings, Robbie Simpson’s effort parried by Ben Garratt.

The Grecians pressure subsided and Crewe saw more of the ball, George Cooper impressing in midfield. Strikers Chris Dagnall and Ryan Lowe closed down the back-line but Exeter’s defenders excelled at playing their way out of awkward situations, left-back Connor Riley-Lowe in particular.

The weakness in the away side’s back-line was made apparent on 23 minutes, however. It took just a simple ball over the top to set Kiwomya through on goal and the in-form winger finished coolly. Dagnall has scored many Football League goals in his career but the veteran’s instinct aborted him when he rounded the keeper on 34 minutes, only to slot wide.

Exeter started the second half similarly to how they had started the first. They closed down early, shifted the ball quickly and got wide men Joel Grant and Ollie Watkins into the game. Harley bossed the game for a period and had a number of shots, one curling effort forcing a sprawling save from Garratt. They had plenty of nearly moments, one of which forced Zoumana Bakayogo into a last ditch clearance, but still lacked bravery in the penalty area.

Grant’s removal coincided with a dip in Exeter’s momentum. It seems surprising that Tisdale’s only change was to bring on veteran midfielder Matt Oakley, while Liam McAlinden remained on the bench. Without a focal point up top, their play became too predictable and didn’t result in shooting opportunities. Midway through the second half they lost some discipline and gaps started to open up at the back, leaving space for Kiwomya to create.

While Crewe weren’t the most aesthetically appealing side, the briskness of their play did lead to numerous one-on-one situations over the 90 minutes. Hollands was played through on goal and secured the three points to inflict a fifth defeat of the season on Exeter.

Paul Tisdale responded to the post-match wrath of some fans with a somewhat hollow thumbs up, as supporters question whether change is needed. Crewe’s bright start however, has renewed some positivity among their fanbase. The Railwaymen have shown a steelier side to their game this term and with Kiwomya providing the magic, a top seven push is within their range.

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