An ice cool penalty from Byron Moore in stoppage time gave Crewe a second successive win in League One. With the club’s normal penalty taker Harry Davis currently out injured it was up to Moore to step up under pressure to seal the points in the 92nd minutes, but the 25-year-old stepped up confidently to dispatch the spot kick high into Elliott Parish’s net.
Moore had won the penalty himself as well when being man handled and then tripped by Scott Wagstaff as he looked up to clip over a cross. Bristol City appealed that the offence had taken place inside the penalty area but referee Eltringham pointed to the spot.
It looked like ending a goalless draw but credit must go to the Alex who continued to press, put Max Clayton on to freshen things up front and at one stage went to three at the back to try and net a winner. It paid off with Crewe securing another three points with the basis of the victory another clean-sheet.
Following last weekend’s fine 2-0 win at Preston North End, Steve Davis was forced into one enforced change after attacking midfielder Brad Inman was ruled out with a virus. Lee Molyneux was handed the chance on the left hand side of a three man attack alongside Chuks Aneke and Byron Moore.
A cagey opening passage of play was rather stop/start with Anthony Grant needing treatment after a clash with Bristol City’s towering centre-half Aden Flint, who was booked for the offence.
Crewe’s Ollie Turton joined him in the book soon after catching Scott Wagstaff after allowing a pass from Abdul Osman to run across his body. Both sides were passing the ball well enough but the match needed a spur to really ignite.
That duly arrived on 20 minutes from an unlikely source after Aneke had used his physical strength to release the forward thinking Turton.
The midfielder got the ball out his feet to smash the first goal on target that drew a smart save from Elliott Parish. From the resultant corner, a well worked short-one from Moore, invited Turton to shoot and although he dragged his shot a telling touch from Adam Dugdale could and perhaps should have given Crewe the lead.
With the game stepping up a gear for excitement, he ball grazed the studs of Kelvin Mellor as he tried to clear up the pitch and instead he conceded a rare corner to the visitors. A short routine allowed the former England International Nicky Shorey to whip over a delivery and although Mellor cleared his line, the ball fell to Wagstaff but his fierce shot was blocked.
On 23 minutes, Crewe so nearly gifted Bristol City the lead. Goalkeeper Steve Phillips tried to play out from the back but Dugdale wasn’t expecting or looking to receive the goal kick and an alert Jay Emmanuel-Thomas read it and latched onto Dugdale’s short touch back to Phillips but he screwed his shot wide. It was one almighty mix-up and one almighty let off.
It was now end-to-end stuff. Aneke did well again to ride away from a couple of challenges to find Molyneux inside the box and after the former Everton trainee had cut in intelligently, his shot was well held by Parish.
Tootle had to make another of his timely challenges to deny Wagstaff on the edge of penalty area before the home side conjured up a move that would have graced any Stadium in the world. Some superb one touch stuff involving Mellor and Aneke, allowed the on-loan Arsenal starlet to produce a pass of the highest calibre to find Moore inside the area and his instant volley struck the Bristol City crossbar. Credit must go to the City goalkeeper Parish who appeared to get a touch and Molyneux couldn’t control his follow up effort.
Molyneux hit a free kick into the Bristol City wall before a period before a sloppy spell of passing from the Alex saw Bristol City enjoy their best spell in the first half. Osman did well to deny Flint a clean header at the far post and Ellis did well to deny Sam Baldock any room to get a shot off after a slowing move from the visitors.
Crewe could have gone into the half time break ahead when a superb pass from Grant released Tootle down the left channel and his accurate cross found Aneke in enough space to have headed home, but uncharacteristically from the Arsenal man he didn’t quite connect right with his header and it was cleared. It was a golden chance and you have backed Chuks to have at least test the goalkeeper from there.
Phillips denied his former club the lead when saving a bouncing shot before Tootle again created another chance for Turton but he couldn’t quite get over his shot.
It was pretty even in terms of half chances with both sides really restricted to chances from the edge of the box. In fairness, the Alex back four didn’t really give Bristol City that any genuine chances over the 90 minutes, and continued where they left off at Deepdale.
Grant curled an effort into the gloves of Parish before City introduced Ryan Taylor for Emmanuel-Thomas. Taylor was quickly involved to create an opening for the busier Bobby Reid but he flashed his 20 yard shot over the crossbar.
Lee Molyneux had one or two efforts from long range before he was replaced by Max Clayton and Aneke curled one into the well positioned City keeper.
At the other end, Ellis and Dugdale bravely threw themselves into challenges, heading duals and blocking shots and that level of defending has given us a real lift over the last two games.
Tootle blocked a shot from Baldock before the striker also flicked a header wide of the mark. Ellis also made a brave header to deny Taylor to a clear header at goal. Moloney dragged a shot wide and it looked like ending in a goalless draw before the late drama.
Moore won some space at a late throw in towards the corner flag and after briefly losing his man, he was tripped and the referee quickly pointed to the spot in the 92nd minute. Moore dusted himself down to slam the spot kick home and there was still enough time for Ellis to throw himself head first into a challenge during a melee inside the box. It spoke volumes.