Stoke City: A game of 2 halves in Crewe win

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Crewe (0) 2 Stoke City (3) 3 – 20/07/2021 7pm (Friendly Ashton Hulme Charity Match)

After cruising to a brilliant 3-0 lead, Stoke had to cling on in the 2nd half after Michael O’Neill tinkered alarmingly with his side. Here’s how the game unfolded in real time:
The Stoke team are back from Belfast, Harry Souttar is in Tokyo for the Olympics, and James McClean isn’t in sight. You can say what you like about James – and I’m sure most people can think of a thing or two – but at least he isn’t playing for Australia in Japan!! He should be here in Crewe!! Slumming it with the rest of us. Here a decent crowd (raising money for Ashton Hulme) bask in the sun and heat to enjoy a friendly local derby. Friendly?? We will see. Not a mask in sight, either. Hm.
0.32 Fletcher hits the post as Brown & Powell combine well.
1.08 1-0 Batth blasts home from the subsequent corner from Vrancic. Corner from the left, flicked on by Fletcher is headed against the post when it seemed easier to score, and Batth blasted home. Crewe dumbstruck.
6.20 Vrancic dragged to the ground outside the box. Alfie Doughty’s free kick is just wide. Mario dominating in midfield in the way that Mikel never quite did. Fletcher looking fit. No, really!
8.33 Fletcher lays off Brown who must score, but keeper Jaaskelainen makes an incredible point-blank save!
18.01 Alfie charges forward and even tries to shoot…but it doesn’t appear to be his strongest suit.
26.15 2-0 Fletcher heads home direct from a Vrancic corner from the left. Crewe still asleep after the drinks break immediately before!
32.50 Vrancic ghosts into the area, but his deflected shot comes back off the bar! Railwaymen, your woodwork is taking a pounding tonight!
40.32 Benny Wilmot wins the ball with a superb match-winning tackle, then dribbles all the way to the far Crewe corner flag!!! Blimey!
43.12 3-0!! Nick Powell heads home from a Tommy Smith cross, after Brown does the business in midfield! Looking easy.
HT Railwaymen 0 Cruisers 3
45.00 Sam Clucas on for Fletcher.
57.09 3-1 ! Great curling shot by Josh Lundstram against the run of play, it has to be said.
59.45 Mario Vrancic and Nick Powell & Joe Allen replaced by…Jordan Thompson, Goodwin & Adam Porter.
65.40 Crewe headed goal disallowed as, well, just unlikely in the first place. (Probably offside).
66.28 Jacob Brown latches on to a poor back-pass, beats keeper but then misses an open goal, hitting the outside of the post…
69.23 3-2 !! Dale heads home from a corner. Weakened Stoke look shell-shocked now.
72.50 Josh Tymon on for Alfie. Kieron Coates on for Smith. Batth hits one from a mile away, and Clucas blasts over. Coates looks really useful.
81.01 Batth and Fox replaced by Jones & Macari.
Full time: Stoke hang on for 3-2 win.