Crewe held at Chester after fairly even affairCrewe did have chances to win the friendly with the impressive Ryan Colclough striking a Chester post and midfielder Ollie Turton firing over from close range after a flowing move. Mathias Pogba completed 90 minutes and there was a debut for new signing Anthony Grant, who completed just over an hour.
Crewe Alexandra were held to a 1-1 draw by Conference side Chester in our latest pre-season match. Crewe had led at the interval following a well-taken penalty by defender Harry Davis but were penned back when Tom Moore smuggled home an equaliser after Crewe hadn't defended a cross into the box particularly well.
The home side started brightly at the Deva Stadium and had the Crewe back-line on the back foot in the opening minutes. The former Liverpool youngster Craig Linfield tested the reactions of Steve Phillips with an early effort and his well struck free-kick minutes later clipped the crossbar.
Crewe had found it hard to get a foothold in the game but opened up the Chester defence just before the quarter of an hour mark thanks to a splendid pass from Lee Molyneux to find the run of Ryan Colclough. The Crewe youngster broke clear of the Chester offside trap to race through and he elected to try and round goalkeeper John Danby instead of taking a shot. Colclough was free of the Chester goalkeeper but was clipped as he was about to side foot into an empty net.
The experienced referee Mike Dean didn’t hesitate to point to the spot and if it had been a competitive match then Danby would have been dismissed as he had prevented a goalscoring opportunity. After the protests about Colclough had died down, defender Harry Davis confidently dispatched the spot kick into the roof of the net.
Matt Tootle then latched onto another searching pass from Molyneux to make inroads into the Chester penalty area but his low cross was intercepted by Paul Linwood.
Chester’s Gareth Seddon attempted a difficult shot on the half volley that wasn’t troubling Phillips before Molyneux sent a free-kick sky high of the Chester goal.
It was a competitive affair and Chester midfielder Ashley Williams catching new boy Anthony Grant and the impressive Colclough taking a succession of tumbles after he was caught after some neat touches to take him away from defenders.
Crewe continued to press in the first period but genuine chances were few and far between. Pogba did flash a header from another Tootle cross just wide before Grant had to produce a covering tackle to deny Williams a clear shot of goal after Crewe had been caught out trying to play out from the back.
The home side introduced the busy Marc Williams at the interval and he was a nuisance at set-plays. Although not the biggest he seemed to find far too much space from a Crewe perspective and we were lucky to escape two free headers. He headed one down and into the gloves of Phillips and placed another one clear of the bar.
The former Nantwich Town forward Ben Mills also came on early in the second half but was kept quiet by Ellis and Davis.
Crewe did look the more threatening, although Danby was not tested not nearly enough. Moore had a difficult half volley before he created another chance for Colclough but he couldn’t quite direct his header on goal.
Chester’s equaliser came via another free header from Williams. This time, Philips had to produce a good reaction save to palm it out and in the ensuing scramble on the floor, Tom Moore reacted quickest to poke it over the line.
That equalising goal prompted a flurry of changes for Crewe with Tootle, Molyneux, Grant and Phillips making way for Turton, Martin, Clayton and a returning Robertson.
Crewe’s best chance of winning our latest friendly saw Colclough hit a deflected effort against a post and substitute Turton get under a shot after more good work from Colclough, a lively Clayton and Pogba.
A late chance saw Colclough drag another effort wide of the far post and Pogba go close with a rising shot, before Lindfield went close to perhaps winning it for Chester, but after a twist and a turn he could only fire over the top.