Report | Swansea City U23s 1 Crewe Alexandra U23s 1

13th April 2021
Steven Benda

Swansea City Under-23s held Crewe Alexandra to a draw as a Brandon Cooper header cancelled out Tyreece Onyeka’s first-half goal.

Kris O’Leary made eight changes from the team that started against Watford in the under-23s’ last fixture in March, with five trialists all coming in to the starting 11. There was also a first-team influence as Steven Benda featured as he returns from injury, while Cooper also started at centre-back.

The first real chance for the Swans came after five minutes when Ali Al-Hamadi drilled a low shot at goal which forced Crewe’s keeper Sam Booth into making a fine save.

The visitors were awarded a free-kick in a dangerous position after Benda fouled outside the area, Crewe’s skipper Joe Robbins stepped up to take the free-kick but it stung the grateful palms of Benda in goal.

At the other end, Rio Campbell unleashed a low effort from the right but he saw his shot blocked by Lewis Billington.

The visitors took the lead in the 16th minute when Onyeka drilled a low shot from close range to beat Benda.

The young Swans had a superb opportunity to level the scores just minutes later when a trialist found himself in space, but he saw his effort narrowly miss the woodwork.

Soon after, Joe Levey whipped a fine ball into the area which found Connor Salisbury in the box, but his flicked header cannoned off the woodwork as the visitors looked to double their lead.

Campbell forced Booth into action once more as he looked to chip the goalkeeper from the right, but it was comfortably stopped by Booth, before a Swansea trialist looked to capitalise on a Booth mistake, only to see his effort denied by Bailey Marsden.

Ryan Bevan tried his luck from distance shortly before the break but it proved no test for Booth to collect.

In the final minutes of the first half, Benda produced magnificent reflexes to deny Crewe as they looked to punish the Swans following a slick attacking move.

After the break, the Swans showed their intent on getting back in the game with some good attacking play, with Al-Hamadi forcing a save from Booth.

The Swans continued to apply pressure and their efforts were rewarded when Cooper levelled the scores with a great header at the far post in the 49th minute.

Crewe looked to take the lead once more but Cooper was on hand to head clear, before Robbin’s driven shot went wide.

The visitors continued to search for a second goal, with an Onyeka shot forcing a fingertip save from Benda.

The Swans appealed for a penalty after Bradley Gibbings was brought down in the box but the referee dismissed their appeals.

Big chances followed for the Swans as a trialist picked up the ball on the edge of the area and swivelled to take a shot which rattled the woodwork, just minutes before a beautiful Bevan strike hit the bar.

Skipper Dan Williams pulled the trigger on a powerful strike from outside the area in the dying minutes but there was too much power on the shot that went well wide as it ended all-square.

Swans U23s: Steven Benda, Trialist, Trialist (Harry Jones 85), Brandon Cooper, Dan Williams (captain), Trialist, Trialist, Ryan Bevan, Ali Al-Hamadi, Trialist (Michael Murphy 65), Rio Campbell (Bradley Gibbings 75). 

Unused subs: Jamie Searle, Jake Thomas.

Crewe Alexandra U23s: Sam Booth, Bailey Marsden, Michael Williams, Joe Robbins (captain), Connor O’Riordan, Lewis Billington, Charlie Finney, Joe Levey, Connor Salisbury, Joel Tabinor, Tyreece Onyeka.

Unused subs: Kyle Stubbs, Tom Booth, Sean Lawton, Jack Marrow, Liam Kennington.