Crewe: Garratt, Turton, Guthrie, Nugent, Ray, Cooper, Jones, Hollands, Cooper, Kirk (Kiwomya, 53), Dagnall (Udoh, 84), Bowery
Unused Subs: Richards, Bakayogo, Wintle, Ng, Dale
Attendance: 3,373 (210)
Crewe Alexandra picked up a point against Cheltenham Town but were left to rue some chances missed again.
Although Gary Johnson’s side defended resolutely throughout the 90 plus minutes, Crewe deserved the three points, but were left frustrated time and time again by the goalkeeping of Scott Brown and the excellence of central defender Emmanuel Onariase. It was another promising display from the Alex but arguably two points dropped after we enjoyed the majority of the possession and certainly the better of the opportunities.
Crewe’s best chance of the first half fell to Charlie Kirk but he side footed his effort into the gloves of Brown. Second half substitute Alex Kiwomya also struck the post after a powerful run just minutes after replacing Kirk. That goal just eluded us and Cheltenham could have nicked it themselves in the final minute but their new signing Kyle Wootton couldn't keep his header down.
David Artell made a personnel change and a system alteration for the visit of Cheltenham Town. Crewe operated with a back three. Ben Nugent returned to the starting line-up for his first start in League Two this season with Zoumana Bakayogo dropping to the subs bench. George Cooper was used as an attack-minded left wing-back.
With Billy Bingham and Callum Saunders ruled out with injury, youngster Owen Dale was named on the bench for the visit time in his career.
New loan signing Jordan Bowery made his home debut, teaming up again with Chris Dagnall and the club’s experienced midfielder Danny Hollands again captained the side.
Crewe Alexandra made a positive start to the game with Bowery achieving considerable success in the air. A dangerous ball from James Jones nearly picked out the towering striker but Alex Pike was well placed to chest it back to Brown.
Cooper really began to get on the ball and it was an intriguing battle between him and our former player Billy Waters. Cooper shot against the legs of Pike before George Ray fired wide from 30 yards after taking advantage of the space ahead of him. The defender, who was impressive throughout to win the sponsors Man-of-the-Match award again, also headed wide at the far post.
Crewe also had two strong penalty appeals rejected. Guthrie certainly looked to have his shirt pulled at a corner and Cooper was blocked off by Pike after putting the ball through the legs of the defender. Cooper also saw his well struck free-kick pushed over by Brown.
Kirk had the Railwaymen’s best chance of the game just after the half an hour mark with Bowery touching the ball through to the youngster. Kirk directed his shot straight at the Cheltenham goalkeeper and didn’t test him enough. Either side and Crewe would have taken a deserved lead.
The visitors did have a spell as we headed towards the end of the half but Carl Winchester shot straight at Garratt from distance and after some sloppiness in possession, Diego De Girolamo shot just wide.
There was still time for Crewe to conjure up another half chance after Kirk headed a Cooper cross back into the path of Turton but from a difficult height he couldn’t get his effort on target. Danny Wright was also booked for clattering into Danny Hollands.
Crewe began the second half on the front foot again with Bowery lifting a Cooper cross over the bar and Guthrie heading over from a corner.
David Artell made his first change early with Kiwomya replacing Kirk. The on-loan Chelsea winger was soon involved and after a fantastic run he was unlucky to see his shot hit the post and rebound to safety.
Cooper, who always looked likely for Crewe, then had a shot blocked before Ray made a key clearance to deny Waters another goal against his former club.
Cheltenham boss Gary Johnson made a double change with new signing Kyle Wootton and Jordan Cranston replacing Winchester and Wright. Holman completed the set soon after when De Girolamo made way.
Dagnall hurried and harassed and Bowery’s hold up play was consistent for us to continue to press forward and look for that decisive goal. A great passing move saw Jones find the ever willing Turton on the right hand side and after his pass was dummied by Dagnall it fell into the path of Cooper, who saw his shot blocked. Cooper also saw his curling shot from the edge of the box pushed away by Brown.
Cooper was then unlucky not to take a Jones pass in his stride as he entered the penalty area. Udoh replaced the hard working Dagnall late on but in truth Cheltenham had a couple of chances to win it themselves.
A fantastic cross from Cranston was headed over by Wooton and then Turton had to block a late chance at the far post to deny Daniel O’Shaughnessy. It would have been severely harsh on Crewe that is for sure.
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