Marcus Tudgay scores in a strong first half performance but The Alex score two second half goals to nick the win at Liberty Way...Coventry City Under-21s fell to a last-minute winner as Crewe Alexandra came from behind to beat the Sky Blues 2-1 at Liberty Way this afternoon.
Marcus Tudgay opened the scoring before Lauri Dalla Valle equalised from the penalty spot. Dalla Valle then headed the winner at the death as a draw looked to be on the cards.
The Sky Blues named a line up that combined youth and experience, with both Dion and Devon Kelly-Evans in a back three and a front two of Simeon Jackson and Marcus Tudgay.
City pressurised their opponents early and spurned a massive chance in the first minute. Tudgay capitalised on a defensive error, he squared it to James Maddison whose shot was blocked on the line.
It was the Alex's chance to miss a great chance just a minute later. Dalla Valle received the ball in the six yard box, but he blazed the ball over the bar with just Lee Burge to beat.
The Sky Blues were finding it hard to play a passing game on a very bobbly pitch, but they were doing well to pin the visitors back in their own half and looking for opportunities to test Scott Shearer in the Crewe goal.
After a period of sustained pressure, City had a great chance to break the deadlock on 12 minutes when Tudgay was released on goal after a great ball from George Thomas, however the ball took a horrific bounce and his skewed shot was saved by Shearer.
Crewe had a rare chance against the run of play five minutes later when an opportunity opened up for Billy Waters, but Burge spread himself well and got down low to save.
The deadlock was finally broken in some style by Tudgay on 20 minutes. The striker played a great one-two with Jackson to get through on goal, and he powered his shot past Shearer into the far corner from eight yards out.
It continued to be one way traffic as City played some lovely possession football, with the Crewe side chasing shadows in the centre of the park.
On the half-hour mark, Danny Swanson had a chance teed up for him by Jackson, but he dragged his shot wide from the edge of the area.
With eight minutes left in the first half, City almost made it two nil. Again the two strikers linked up, with Jackson playing the ball across to Tudgay, but his powerful drive fizzed just over.
Just before the half Swanson had a long range effort that was straight at the keeper and it was to be the last action of the half, in an opening 45 minutes which City had dominated.
The second half began slowly, with the first real chance coming eight minutes in, when Waters was allowed time to drive towards the area and get a shot away, which went over the bar.
In the 54th minute, Jackson had a golden chance to make it 2-0. He was alone in the penalty area but he shot straight at Shearer.
With half an hour to go, Crewe went desperately close to equalising. Callum Saunders ran in from the byline and struck a low drive that hit the inside of the post. Di. Kelly-Evans did brilliantly to scramble the ball clear to avoid a tap in.
From the resulting corner James Jones struck from 12 yards, but Cian Harries blocked the ball on the line.
In the 65th minute, Crewe won a penalty. Harries took down Waters in the area, giving the referee little choice. Dalla Valle stepped up and sent Burge the wrong way to equalise.
The game was there for the taking and the Alex missed the best chance of the match with ten minutes to go. City failed to clear a cross and George Cooper had a shot from four yards that somehow went wide.
Both Ben Stevenson and Kyle Spence came on in place of Swanson and Jackson respectively, as Under 21s manager Darren Murray looked to freshen up the side.
Play was very open and even, but it was the visitors who won the game in the 89th minute. A whipped ball in from the left hand side was glanced on by Dalla Valle, the ball dropping past the lunge of Burge and into the far corner.
The goal was harsh on City, who did not deserve to lose and dominated the first half. After the goal Crewe dropped defensively deep as the Sky Blues looked for a leveller.
There was no further chances and the referee called time on an entertaining open game. The next game for the U21s is against Nottingham Forest next Monday.
CoventryCity: Burge, Di. Kelly-Evans, De. Kelly-Evans, C. Thomas, Harries, Daniels, G. Thomas, Swanson (Spence 80'), Tudgay, Maddison, Jackson (Stevenson 77')
Substitutes: Richards, Barnett, Maycock, Spence
CreweAlexandra: Shearer, Ng, Kearns, Nolan, Stuart, Jones, Cooper, Guthrie, Saunders, Dalla Valle, Waters
Substitutes: Brown, Speed, Mullarkey