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Match Report -
Outclased by full strength Alex
By Crewe Alexandra

The Alex cruised through to a Cheshire Cup final against Altrincham with a comfortable 7-2 win against Stalybridge Celtic at Bower Fold. Colin Little, Paul Tait and Steve Jones were all amongst the goals in an Alex performance that started off at 100 miles an hour and didn't let up until we were well out of sight and on our way to Northwich. The strong side that the Alex put out would have been expected to brush aside their under strength Conference opposition, and so it provedas the Alex ran riot.

Kevin Street and Lee Bell both saw good efforts go close before Colin Little opened the scoring 8 minutes in, finishing off Street's cross from the right. Little, Street, Tait and Jones were causing Celtic all sorts of problems up front and the only surprise about the Alex doubling their lead was that it was as far on as the 23rd minute, when Little finished quite superbly with a chip from almost on the touchline.

Within a minute, it was 3-0. Steve Jones got the goal he had already deserved as he played a good one-two before finishing from the edge of the area. Ten minutes later, Alex keeper Craig Clare was tested for the first time as Celtic started to adapt to the pace of the Alex side. But right on half time, Paul Tait staked his claim for a first team place to make it 4. Played through by Wayne Collins, he took the ball around both the goalkeeper and a covering defender before slotting the ball home.

It was Tait who then got the first goal of the second half, pushing further his claims for first team action as he headed home for 5-0 at the end of a move started well by right-back Chris McCready that had led to a Street cross. The sixth followed soon afterwards. Steve Jones, who in the intervening few minutes had been felled by Ben Futcher for the only yellow card of the game, was in the right place at the right time to slot home a part-blocked Street effort.

At the other end, Craig Clare was called on to make a couple of good saves, but he could do nothing about Celtic's first with around 15 minutes left to play, Steve Pickford curling the ball into the top corner from the left. It was almost inevitable that one Alex striker would grab a hat-trick though, and after being denied on a couple of occasions Colin Little got it, heading home a deep Street cross at the far post. But the last say in the match went to Celtic's Ged Courtney , firing home from the edge of the box into the top corner and again leaving Clare with no chance.

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