LEAGUE ONE Crewe Alexandra beat Championship Barnsley 1-0 in a friendly this evening, writes Liam Norcliffe.
The Railwaymen came out of the blocks quickest and created two goal scoring opportunities inside the first opening minutes, which received warm applause from the home crowd.
First, Mathias Pogba rose highest at the back post only to see his powerful header just miss the target.
Minutes later Max Clayton timed his run to perfection to find himself one on one with goalkeeper Ben Anwick, only to be foiled by the opposition number one.
Barnsley responded with a few neat passing moves in the Crewe final third yet could not create a clear chance.
The home team then took the lead.
A free-kick from the right hand-side by Ashley Westwood was met by an Adam Dugdale header, leaving Anwick with no chance and the Reds facing an uphill task.
Crewe controlled the rest of the first half as they restricted their visitors with long distance efforts from goal.
HALF TIME CREWE 1 REDS 0
Barnsley huffed and puffed to try and make something happen but the home side persisted with keeping men behind the ball hitting the Reds on the counter-attack.
With 20 minutes remaining, Steve Evans team took caution to the wind and tried to finish the game off.
Byron Moore travelled over 30 yards with the ball at his feet, leaving the away defence in his trail. Moore then released the ball to Clayton who produced a few step overs
to beat his man and force a low save by Alnwick.
As the clock ticked down Crewe goalkeeper Alan Martin produced the save of the match with an outstretched fingertip save to keep the home side in front.
Dugdale nearly doubled his tally for the night with a flicked header wide with just two minutes remaining as the Railwaymen held out for a deserved victory and remain unbeaten in pre-season.
Full-time Crewe 1-0 Barnsley
Crewe: Martin, Davis, Westwood, Ellis, Dugdale, Clayton, Pogba, Leitch-Smith, Moore, Robertson, Osman.
Subs: Garratt, Murphy, Turton, Guthrie, Ray, Daniels, White.
Barnsley : Alnwick, Hassell, Sonko, Collins, Noble-Lazarus, Clark, Dawson, Digby, Cywka, Dagnall, Hogan.
Subs: O’Brien, Done, Wiseman, Stones, Rose, Kilburn, Scott, Sousa, Shillito.
*Read Neil Goulding’s analysis in Wednesday’s Star,