Football: Crewe scuttle Marine's Cup aspirations

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The Independent Online
Crewe Alexandra. .3

Marine . . . . . .1

CREWE, who won 6-1 in each of the opening two rounds, promised a rout of similar proportions last night as they built a three-goal lead over Marine by midway through the first half. The HFS Loans League part-timers retrieved a goal in the second half, but never seriously threatened Crewe's right to an attractive FA Cup fourth-round home tie against Blackburn Rovers.

Kenny Dalglish was there to see it all though Crewe's Shaun Smith was not. He was stuck in a motorway blizzard while his team were taking a third-minute lead. Paul Dawson handled Rod Edwards's cross, allowing Dave McKearney to score from the spot.

Dawson's unhappy evening continued when he limped off six minutes later, and in the 15th minute Marine fell further behind. Gareth Whalley, charging through the inside-left channel, fired against the far post. From the rebound, Edwards guided the ball between the sprawling Kevin O'Brien and the opposite upright.

Crewe pride themselves on their passing game yet their third goal, after 23 minutes, followed an up-and-under launched by Gus Wilson. Phil Clarkson seized on the ball 30 yards out and left two defenders trailing before slipping it past O'Brien from close range.

The Third Division side wasted further chances before Marine, in the formidable shape of the 16- stone Chris Camden, managed a shot on target after 37 minutes. Dean Greygoose held it at the foot of a post.

Perhaps in anticipation of an epic to come against Blackburn, the lone trumpeter who is a fixture on the popular terrace at Crewe played the theme from Star Wars early in the second half. A goal for the non-Leaguers brought the crowd back to earth in the 57th minute, Keith Johnson squeezing a low shot past Greygoose.

Marine seemed to scent the possibility of an upset and Roly Howard, their window-cleaning manager, promptly sent on an extra striker, Brendan Grant. The next opportunity, though, fell Crewe's way in the 66th minute, a long- range drive by Mark Gardiner rattling the bar with Edwards unable to force in the loose ball.

By midway through the second half it was a far more even contest, with Camden's willingness to throw his weight around troubling the young Crewe defence. However, with eight of Dario Gradi's first-team players having been unavailable due to injuries and snow, Dalglish will be aware that a stern test awaits his men.

Crewe Alexandra: Greygoose; McKearney (Garvey, 56), Whalley, Wilson, Carr, Hughes, Harvey, Clarkson, Evans, Gardiner, Edwards. Substitute not used: Mettioui.

Marine: O'Brien; Ward, Johnson, Roche, Proctor, Gautrey, Murray (Grant, 60), Rowlands, Ross, Camden, Dawson (McDonough, 9).

Referee: W Burns (Scarborough).