Grant wonder goal cancelled out by Cowan-Hall's header
One of the FA Cup’s goals of the first round from midfielder Anthony Grant put Crewe Alexandra into an early lead at Adams Park but his wonder strike that flew into the top corner was cancelled out by the head of Paris Cowan-Hall on 36 minutes.
Despite an entertaining cup tie, that is the way it remained and both clubs will have to do all it again in a replay on 19th November.
Steve Davis named an unchanged side for Crewe Alexandra’s first round FA Cup at Adams Park. As he had suggested in the week, the Alex boss had stated that the substitutes’ bench would virtually pick itself and with nine players missing for various reasons, the same seven who were named for the Bradford game all travelled. The only doubt had been Lee Molyneux, but he overcame a stomach bug to be included in the 18-man squad.
Gareth Ainsworth’s side included the former Crewe loanee Dean Morgan.
Crewe made a really positive start with Anthony Grant finding Byron Moore on the right and his deep cross was intelligently headed down by Vadaine Oliver towards Max Clayton but as soon as the young striker had had a touch he was crowded out. Crewe kept the ball alive and after possession had found its way out to Moore again his cross was headed a yard wide by Chuks Aneke.
After our former player Morgan had been halted in his tracks inside our penalty area, Crewe took the lead after just four minutes. Moore was again the provider with a cross into the Wycombe penalty and after the ball was initially cleared, Grant sent it back with real intent.
The midfielder caught it sweet and his shot curled with venom into Matt Ingram’s top corner for his second goal of the season. It was a wonderful strike but Grant, who had spent an enjoyable loan spell with the Chairboys, showed great respect to his former club with his reserved celebration.
Wycombe attempted to hit back quickly, but Harry Davis denied Paris Cowan-Hall a clear shot at Alan Martin’s goal with a superbly timed challenge that only conceded a corner rather than an equaliser. Minutes later, Billy Knott couldn’t keep his ambitious effort down after Crewe had cleared another corner out to the edge of the penalty area.
Crewe had settled quickly and passing with real confidence, but Wycombe were still posing a danger on the break with Morgan curling an effort over after Vadaine Oliver had been pinched of possession some 35 yards from our goal.
Wycombe began to get on the pink FA Cup ball more, with their captain Matthew Spring always a thoughtful player in possession and Morgan direct in-and-around the box. A Spring corner was just missed in the air by the advanced Anthony Stewart and in the second phase, Spring dragged his shot wide.
On 27 minutes, Crewe could have doubled the lead. George Evans did well to start the move off to find Moore and his cross slipped past Aneke but landed at the feet of Clayton. After a step over, his shot was blocked, the rebound fell invitingly to Aneke but he couldn’t keep his shot down.
With Crewe back on top, we were guilty of missing another fantastic chance. Aneke sent Oliver on his way and he was only denied shooting into an empty by a touch of the gloves by the onrushing Ingram but again the rebound fell towards Clayton. The youngster’s shot wasn’t accurate or low enough to double our advantage. Moments later Oliver had a well struck shot deflected behind for a corner.
Crewe soon began to rue those missed opportunities as Wycombe hit back on 36 minutes. Mellor blocked an initial shot from Knott but Morgan chased a lost cause into the corner and kept the attack alive. The supportive full-back Sam Wood whipped over a cross and Paris Cowan-Hall got across Harry Davis to head past Alan Martin.
Before the interval, Clayton had a half chance but the ball wouldn’t quite come down quickly enough for him inside the penalty area. Two minutes before the break, Grant tried his luck again with another effort from long range but it wasn’t quite on target to test Ingram this time.
Wycombe lost their goalscorer Paris Cowan-Hall at the interval through injury and had to be replaced by Max Kretzschmar. Almost immediately, the home side forced Adam Dugdale to block a close range shot from Billy Knox and Morgan forced Alan Martin into a smart save early on.
A hectic start saw Clayton steal in at the far post but his header from Moore’s deep cross was too close to Ingram.
Aneke then presented Clayton with another decent chance but the forward elected to pass across the six-yard box instead of shooting and nor Oliver or Moore could reach the low pass and the opportunity was lost.
Just before the hour mark, Oliver made way for Brad Inman with Clayton going more central. A minute later, Martin was called upon to push away a well struck free kick from Morgan. Spring then so nearly found Morgan’s forward run but the ball skidded away from his boot.
A dangerous cross from Knott only needed a touch inside the Crewe six-yard box and Martin had to be alert to save from substitute Kretzschmar. Evans was then booked for a trip in the centre of the pitch.
With the cup-tie evenly poised, Inman cut in from the wing to fire low into the gloves of Ingram before Aneke was replaced by Lee Molyneux. Wycombe’s Marvin McCoy was booked for obviously blocking off Moore.
With 10 minutes on the clock, a well crafted move from the home side saw Kretzschmar cleverly flick the ball into the path of Matt McClure but off balance he couldn’t get his sliding shot on target.
Both sides wanted to settle it on the day and it was an anxious and tense final passage of the game. Crewe broke quickly with five minutes remaining with Inman feeding Molyneux but he couldn’t get the ball back across to the onrushing Moore and Inman.
Crewe’s final change saw Abdul Osman replace Clayton and Grant was booked for a lunging challenge.
In the final minute, Inman had the perfect chance to win the tie after being sent clear by Moore but he fired over the crossbar. Wycombe's best late chance saw Harry Davis producing a timely interception to deny a cross from Wood reaching Morgan.
An injury time free kick from Molyneux was fired into the Wycombe wall and it ended in a draw, with both teams going into the hat tomorrow as number 39.