A highly entertaining encounter at the Alexandra Stadium ended 3-3 between Crewe Alexandra and newly promoted Bury this afternoon but it could have been two extra points gained if Crewe had been better defensively.
A thrilling match ebbed and flowed with both sets of players determined to win the game right up until the fourth minute of stoppage time.
Crewe twice took the lead in the first half through Adam King and Ryan Colclough but we went into the interval on level terms after the impressive Danny Mayor and Tom Soares scored for the spirited visitors.
Bury then took the lead just before the hour mark after Danny Rose converted a low cross from the overlapping Chris Hussey. It took another stunning individual goal from Brad Inman with just over ten minutes remaining to seal a point for the Railwaymen.
Overall, it was a fair result and secured Crewe’s second league point of the season to push us out of the bottom four.
Steve Davis selected the same squad that narrowly lost 3-2 at Coventry City on Tuesday evening. Ryan Colclough started his second successive game of the season after returning to the starting line-up at the Ricoh Arena.
The former Crewe Alexandra forward Tom Pope lined up for Bury but his new strike partner Leon Clarke was ruled out with injury. Pope caught George Ray within the opening 60 seconds with a stray arm and then Hussey was fortunate to escape a possible yellow card after a clattering challenge into Colclough, who operated behind Haber.
After making slow starts in our previous three games, Crewe Alexandra made a perfect start against the newly promoted Shakers this afternoon. Adam King was in the right place at the right time to tap home his second goal of the season in the opening two minutes. Following a stay pass from Bury, Brad Inman provided the initial ball across the box and after Marcus Haber applied a slight touch, King turned it past a helpless Christian Walton.
The early goal did install some confidence and Crewe continued to play positively but Ben Garratt was called upon to save smartly from Rose. Peter Clarke also hooked a shot over the crossbar from a corner as the Shakers began to grow into the game as an attacking force.
After a promising start, Crewe were on the back foot and were lucky to escape a defensive mix-up between centre-halves Ray and Nugent. They both challenged Pope for the same ball and following a messy collision the ball dropped invitingly for the former Port Vale but he was denied superbly by the onrushing Garratt and the goalkeeper did brilliantly again to deny Rose. It was a fabulous double save from the Crewe number one.
In all fairness, the equaliser looked on the cards from the improving visitors and the excellent Mayor delivered it after tricking his way by right-back Ollie Turton and drilling it past Garratt on 24 minutes.
Bury then had the ball in the net again with Rose heading home but the goal was chalked off for offside. Tom Soares fired over from the edge of the box as Crewe had to dig in to remain in the game.
Captain David Fox had a powerful drive blocked by Danny Pugh before Crewe re-took the lead on 37 minutes. Haber was fouled by Clarke and Bingham’s left-footed swinger to the far post was headed back across the six-yard box by Nugent and Colclough was well placed to tap home the easiest goal of his young career.
Almost immediately Bury had a good chance to draw level when Pope went clean trough again but an alert Garratt did wonderfully well to get a strong hand to his initial shot and then forced him away from danger so we could re-group.
Before the half time interval, Colclough twisted and turned Hussey just inside the Bury box before his cross-shot flashed across the six yard box.
Crewe also lost George Ray before the break after he seemed to take the ball in his throat and he was forced off with James Baillie making his first appearance of the season. Baillie went to right-back, with Guthrie moving to the centre and Turton at left back.
Crewe failed to defend a late deep free-kick taken by Peter Clarke and after Pope had applied pressure on Guthrie and as the ball dropped, Tom Soares gratefully drilled the loose ball into the top corner.
The second half began at a good tempo again and Rose forced an early stunning save from Garratt after he caught a volley sweetly. He was brilliantly positioned to push the shot behind for a corner.
A superb move from Crewe saw us play the ball out from the back and resulted in Colclough having a firm shot deflected onto the post by Walton. Most of the Crewe players were involved in the build up with Baillie eventually slipping Colclough in down the right hand side of the box. It would have been some goal.
Colclough was having a growing influence on the game but so was Mayor for Bury. He whistled one just wide of the target after another forceful run. Crewe found it difficult to pick up Mayor operating in the pockets between our back four and midfield.
Bury’s good start to the second half continued and they took the lead for the first time on the afternoon just before the hour mark. Hussey overlapped down the left hand side and coolly pulled the ball back for Rose to lash home into the roof of the net. It was another disappointing goal for Crewe to concede.
As a response, Bingham had a powerful shot blocked after good work off the wing from Inman before Man of the Match Guthrie was well placed to turn behind a low cross from Hussey as he threatened to pick out rose again.
Crewe’s first chance saw Cooper replace King and he was soon unlucky not to pull down a searching ball from Bingham.
Another forceful run from Mayor saw him conjure up a chance for Hussey but again Garratt stood firm to save from almost point break range and the ball struck Hussey on the arm as he tried to turn the rebound in. Soares then headed over from a cross from full-back from Joe Riley before Crewe finished the second part of the second half really strongly.
Colclough went down under a challenge from Riley but the referee waved away his appeals. When he was genuinely fouled on the half way line and nothing was given, when it should have been, he was booked for dissent!
With ten minutes remaining, Colclough and Inman combined again to create a superb leveller. The dangerous Inman ran at the Bury defence, gliding past two challenges before drilling it into the bottom corner for his second goal in two games, following his stunner at Coventry on Tuesday night.
Both teams still tried to push forward, searching for that late winner but the only genuine chance saw Fox shoot straight at Walton after move good work from Inman. If anyone had snatched it at the death it would have been harsh.