Dave Artell was delighted with the strength lurking on Crewe’s bench as the League Two side comfortably saw off National League Eastleigh at the second time of asking.
Chuma Anene made a quick impact after replacing veteran Chris Porter with his first-half header edging the Railwaymen ahead at Gresty Road.
The Norwegian, on loan from Danish side FC Midtjylland, then plundered a second over the hour mark to kill off the tie after Reda Johnson had turned in fellow substitute Daniel Powell’s driven cross.
Crewe boss Artell says having strength in depth augurs well for his club’s promotion bid.
“Chuma did his job, in fact all our subs were good,” said Artell. “Daniel Powell was terrific when he came on and we’ve got a good squad with the likes of them and Callum Ainley in the wings.
“I’ve told them they’re going to be needed as we are not going to get by with only 12 or 13 players – we need 18 and 19 who have to be ready.”
Crewe were forced into a second game by Marcus Barnes’ late leveller at the Silverlake Stadium, but there were few uneasy moments for them to negotiate this time and the gulf in class was noticeable.
Max Stryjek thwarted Ollie Finney after the midfielder broke free in the box. But the keeper did not have a prayer catching hold of Anene’s thundering header which flew in off the bar after Owen Dale picked out the substitute’s run.
Eastleigh started the second half brightly, but two goals inside nine minutes did for them with first Johnson diverting Powell’s cross into his own net and Anene swinging a right-footer home with some style for his fourth goal since arriving in England back in August.
“It was comfortable but you have to take the fight out of the dog and Eastleigh are a good team, they would hold their own in League Two. We performed for 90 minutes tonight while we only performed for 45 down at their place,” said Artell, who admitted his annoyance at Eastleigh’s consolation with Barnes again on the mark, lofting keeper Will Jaaskelainen in the last minute.
Eastleigh manager Ben Strevens says his focus is on the league and he admitted: “Our best chance of beating Crewe was the home game, although that didn’t mean I didn’t think we couldn’t come here and win. I thought we gave a good account for large periods of the first half and we had some chances.
“But you don’t have to be a good team to do well in the FA Cup and I’ve been honest when looking at the Welling and Stourbridge games when we could have gone out of the competition early.
“But the mark of a good team, like this team was last year, is when you go all the way right to the end of the 46 games, play-offs and all that. That’s what I want from the boys now.”