The Barnsley supporters who made the trip to Gresty Road last night got their first glimpse of Keith Hill’s latest signing Tomas Cywka – and were able to cast their eye over two trialists, Ibrahima Sonko and Scott Hogan – but it was the home fans who ended up with the bigger smiles.
For League One Crewe, managed by former Oakwell defender Steve Davis, held off a strong second half showing from their visitors to secure a 1-0 victory.
The only goal came in the 19th minute when home defender Adam Dugdale headed in an Ashley Westwood free-kick.
The attack-minded Cywka caught the eye on his Barnsley bow – being denied his first goal for the club by a couple of notable saves from Crewe keeper Alan Martin – while the Reds were also handed a double injury boost, with Jordan Clark back in action after suffering a cracked rib in a friendly at Stocksbridge Park Steels and Stephen Dawson also returning after a knock.
But there was no Craig Davies or David Perkins in the squad.
Hill began with trialists Sonko and Hogan in his starting line-up – Sonko lining up at centre-back and Hogan out wide – while Cywka played just off striker Chris Dagnall.
It was Hogan who brought a good save from Martin early on but it was the Railwaymen who had the edge in the opening 20 minutes and they managed to get their noses in front thanks to Dugdale’s header.
Dawson twice went close with long range efforts and in the second period Barnsley upped their game and held sway, without really creating the opportunities they would have wished.
Cywka forced Martin into a full length push around the post, before the Crewe keeper pulled off a top notch save to keep out a deflected free-kick from Reds defender Lee Collins.
Crewe: Martin, Davis, Ellis, Dugdale, Robertson, Westwood (Turton), Osman, Moore (White), Leitch-Smith (Murphy), M. Clayton, Pogba.
Barnsley: Alnwick, Hassell, Sonko, Collins, Noble-Lazarus, Clark, Dawson, Digby, Cywka, Dagnall, Hogan. Subs: O’Brien, Done, Wiseman, Stones, Rose, Kilburn, Scott, Sousa, Shillito.
Referee: Paul Tierney.