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Alex Edge Past County

Matt Lund, Crewe Alexandra

Crewe Alexandra will meet Carlisle United in the third round of the FA Youth Cup after squeezing past Cheshire rivals Stockport County on penalties in an Edgeley Park thriller on Thursday.

Just days before the two clubs respective first teams went head to head in League One a small crowd braved the ice cold conditions in the North West to watch a fine exhibition of Youth Cup football.

Alex started strongly and took the lead in the 9th minute when Matt Lund (above) converted a Daniel Shelley cross. However County rallied and Skipper Kyle Wilkie stepped up to the mark to equalise with a shot from 20 yards.

After the break, County edged ahead when Rick Ratcliffe volleyed a Tim Lawton cross high into the back of the net but Alex’s Ben Marshall took the tie to extra time when he fired a superb 25-yard free kick past Keeper Jason Astbury as full time approached.

With the match finishing all square extra time was required and it was Alex that broke the deadlock during the additional 30 minutes.

Shelley was again involved and his 40-yard wonder strike looked like being enough to settle the contest until a John Disney cross was sliced into his own goal by Matt Tootle forcing the match into a penalty shoot-out.

Alex eventually ran out 4 – 2 winners with Jonathan Stevens netting the deciding spot kick.

Alex’s Youth Team Boss, Neil Critchley was delighted with his team’s concentration after an eventful week at Gresty Road.

He said:

“I am absolutely delighted to get through after the week we have had and with everything that has gone on at the club. I thought we deserved to win it in normal time and then again in extra-time but we couldn’t find that goal.”

“It is very pleasing to come through and I thought that the lads showed great character to do so.”

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