Away form continues as Alex win bottom of the table clash at Greenhous Meadow.
With the club’s leading scorer Chuks Aneke suspended following his red card against Wolverhampton Wanderers, Steve Davis asked for others to step up to the plate and his players certainly delivered for the club at the Greenhous Meadow. Crewe's 3-1 win and results going our way at the bottom of League One has seen us move out of the bottom four.
The recalled Mathias Pogba opening the scoring with a header in the 37th minute from a Jon Guthrie corner to give the Alex the platform to go and win a massive encounter at Shrewsbury.
A few minutes into the second period, Uche Ikpeazu produced a fine turn and shot past Chris Weale to give us a two-goal platform and the excellent Anthony Grant sealed the points with a superb solo run and finish that had began from the half way line.
The only disappointment on a fine afternoon for the travelling Alex and their 1,300 plus fans was the late consolation goal from Tom Bradshaw that wiped a goal from our goal difference.
Steve Davis made two changes to the Crewe Alexandra side that lost to Wolverhampton Wanderers last weekend. With Chuks Aneke suspended following his dismissal for an alleged elbow on Richard Stearman, there was a recall for Mathias Pogba on the right side. Liam Nolan, who started at Crawley Town was recalled ahead of George Evans in central midfield alongside Anthony Grant. Evans was replaced on the bench by Ollie Turton.
Bradden Inman was handed a different role, playing off Uche Ikpeazu in a 4-4-1-1 formation from the Alex.
Our former Academy striker Shaun Miller started for the Shrews and was trying to be lively from the off. The on loan Sheffield United forward couldn’t quite an early chance out of his feet in the opening minute and at the other end, Pogba shot tamely straight at Chris Weale after he had taken a fine cross field pass from Mark Ellis down on his chest.
Crewe captain Matt Tootle had to turn a dangerous looking cross behind for an early corner after both Jon Taylor and Tom Eaves had made progress down the Crewe left hand side. The Crewe defenders cleared the corner to the half way line.
After just nine minutes of play, Pogba slipped Uche Ikpeazu in behind the Shrewsbury rearguard but he was denied a clear shot at Weale’s goal but a timely recovery challenge. Some bright approach play involving Moore, Inman and Jon Guthrie, saw Moore register our first real effort on goal with a powerful drive from the edge of the penalty area, but the Shrewsbury goalkeeper was well placed to make the save. It had been a positive start from the Railwaymen.
After more good work from Pogba to get a cross into a crowded box, a hurried clearance fell invitingly to Inman. Instead of shooting himself, he instantly laid it across to the unmarked Moore but leaning back, he couldn’t keep his shot down and it sailed over the Shrewsbury crossbar.
On 21 minutes, Miller showed his goal poaching instinct by spinning inside the box and getting his shot off from 12 yards, but Ben Garratt did superbly well to get down and apply a strong hand on it to keep it out.
After Ellis did superbly well to track a run off his wing from the lively Taylor, Crewe continued get the resultant corner away, a half chance fell to Eaves but just as he was about to pull the trigger inside a crowded penalty area, Dugdale and Nolan were on top of him to block his close range effort.
After Crewe’s third corner on 37 minutes, a clever little run from Pobga saw him gain enough space to direct Guthrie’s delivery past Weale. His header may have taken a deflection in its way into the net but the Alex didn’t care a jot as they raced away to celebrate the opening goal. It was Pogba’s fourth goal since his return from that knee injury that ruined the first half of his season.
Shrewsbury tried to hit back immediately but Eaves had another close range effort blocked and a well placed Nolan nipped in ahead of Taylor just as the ball was going to fall to him with the whole of the Crewe to aim at.
Crewe settled down and began to keep possession with Moore the main threat up Dominic Iorfa. Crewe controlled the final minutes of the first half and Ikpeazu had a late effort blocked on the edge of the penalty area.
Moore continued where he left off in the first half with another forceful run down the left and his clipped cross aimed for Pogba had to be intercepted before he got his head on it again.
Crewe were pressing Shrewsbury back in the early stages of the second period and following a well worked short corner, Guthrie picked out Ikpeazu with a low pass and on the turn, the on-loan Watford striker bend an inch perfect shot into Weale’s top right hand corner. It was a wonderful goal and Ikpeazu raced to the dug-out to celebrate his fourth goal for the club.
In response Paul Parry placed a cross-come-shot onto the roof of the net and Eaves had another effort that was a yard wide of Garratt’s right hand post. Parry provided another testing cross from the left but no-one in a Shrewsbury shirt gambled enough to apply a decisive touch.
Just before the hour mark, a forceful run from Conor Goldson opened up the Crewe defence but Taylor could only drive his shot into the side netting. Many of the Shrewsbury support thought that it he had pulled one back. Goldson was booked for a lunging tackle into Inman.
Crewe were having to cope with extensive pressure and Eaves made way for Bahrudin Atajic. Ellis and Dugdale continued to win their headers as Parry and Taylor continued to load our box with crosses. Parry also shot from a really tight angle that drew a save from Garratt when perhaps he should have passed it across the box.
A superb break away from the Alex on 66 minutes saw Inman break away at pace and feed Pogba, who in turn found Ikpeazu on the overlap. He quickly returned the ball to Pogba and his shot took a wicked deflection and it span away for a corner.
With 20 minutes remaining, Turton came on for Ikpeazu as Crewe switched to cope with Shrewsbury’s front three. Michael Jackson also made a change with Ryan Woods replacing Luke Summerfield. Almost instantly a dangerous looking cross from Iorfa missed everyone and Tootle guided it behind.
For ten minutes, Crewe were playing with a false number 9 with Inman the most advanced forward player and Shrewsbury were going to enjoy the majority of the possession going into the final ten minutes.
Miller was booked for diving after going down under a challenge from Turton and that proved to be his last act as he was replaced by Tom Bradshaw.
With the minutes ticking away, Steve Davis elected to give Inman a rest and replace him with Vadaine Oliver.
The Alex substitute had the perfect opportunity to seal the win after more superb wing play from Moore. He dummied to shoot, dragged the ball back and clipped a cross to the head Oliver but he could only direct it wide of the mark. It was a glorious chance that would have ended the game at a contest there and then.
Grant did seal the points in the final minute with a fantastic run and finish. The Alex broke in numbers from the half way line but the combative midfielder only had eyes for goal and he raced into the Shrewsbury box before sliding his shot beyond Weale. It was the perfect end to a glorious afternoon at the Greenhous Meadow.
The only blight on a really good performance was Tom Bradshaw’s late consolation goal after he had taken the ball down on the chest and fire past Garratt. It wiped a goal from our goal difference but the three points was all that mattered on a tense afternoon.