U23 Professional Development League
Team: Richardson, Felix Hamalainen, Owens, Paul, Phillips, Tilt, Akinola, Oteh, Mesias, Alfa
Sub Not Used: Brzozowski
This final U23’s home game of the season kicked off two hours earlier than originally scheduled. Niko Hamalainenwas appointed captain.
Two further trialists were named in the starting line-up. In goal, from Manchester United, was 19-year-old Theo Richardson and featuring at No.2 was 18-year-old Fulham full back Joe Felix.
There was a lovely bit of skill in the early stages when Aiden Mesias chested the ball around an Alex defender with the expectation that his pass would then allow ChayTilt to collect on the overlap, adjacent to the bye-line.
At the other end, Daniel Udoh provided some neat footwork before squaring the ball into the six-yard box, but somehow the recipient got his feet mixed up and the danger was averted.
Mr Atkin refused to award a penalty after a Crewe defender clearly pulled down Ody Alfa!
Then after 17 minutes, Aramide Oteh was clipped just outside the corner of the box. Chay Tilt’s free kick wasn’t crossed as expected, but was designed to catch out the keeper who had to scramble across his goal-lineto make a low dive and push the ball away.
A Chay Tilt long-range effort just cleared the crossbar after 38 minutes and a few minutes later the R’s took the lead when Ody Alfa found the bottom corner after Aramide Oteh’s assist.
Just before half-time Oteh burst into the penalty area, but lost control of the ball as he headed towards the six-yard box. Half-time: 1-0.
The visitors had a very good opportunity to equalise but Tom Lowery blazed his shot well over the crossbar.
Ode Alfa set off on a great run down the left flank and was then hacked down after cutting in. Chay Tilt’s free kick from the very edge of the box was blocked.
Looking offside, the Crewe player got to the bye-line and after the ball appeared to go out, he forced a save from Theo Richardson. From the corner, the first player either dummied or failed to make contact (?) and his team matebelted the ball well over the crossbar.
On 57 minutes, Hamalainen’s low shot whizzed just past the post after being fed by Oteh.
Then the Rangers captain went on a great run from his own half, set up Oteh, who forced David Richards into making a superb save.
Hugo Cardoso was introduced after 62 minutes at the expense of Romeo Akinola.
Giles Phillips made a coupe of excellent tackles and the home side were generally dominating proceedings.
Aramide Oteh really should have hit the target, but he blasted his shot wide of the far post. Charlie Owens was booked for throwing the ball away.
Rangers got their second goal in the 74th minute after Oteh was pulled down by Luke Offord. The Crewe keeper was booked for timewasting and the R’s No.9 then directed the ball low into the bottom corner.
Paul Hall made a double substitution after 77 minutes.Ody Alfa and Aiden Mesias made way for CadenGenovesi and Kingsley Eshun respectively.
Niko Hamalainen continued to impress in his positional switch. After cleverly allowing the ball to run wide of the Alex defender, he forced David Richards down to make a very good save.
The R’s captain was instrumental in setting up the R’s third for Oteh in the closing minutes.
There was just enough time for the visitors to manage a consolation goal. Aaron Lomas’ left-wing cross found Regan Griffiths, and his free header hit the back of the net with Theo Richardson rooted to the spot.
The final match of the season will be against Coventry City at the Ricoh.