Crewe suffer another home defeat as our former striker Dan Gardner scores both goals.
Crewe Alexandra lost at home for the second time in a week after our former striker Dan Gardner scored both goals in a 2-1 win for Chesterfield. Gardner will feel he was a bit fortunate with both goals as well, because he didn't make clean connections with either of them - but that reflects Crewe's bad luck at the moment at the bottom of League One.
Crewe captain David Fox had drawn us level on 35 minutes, finishing smartly from the edge of the penalty area after a good move had broken free to him and for large spells of the game we were certainly on the front foot and looking the more likely side to score - but again two disappointing goals against us proved decisive over the 90 minutes.
Gardner’s first goal needed an unfortunate deflection off the back of Ollie Turton to divert it across the line and the winning goal bounced over the Crewe goalkeeper Ben Garratt after he had fired his shot at the far post into the turf. It about summed our luck up at the moment with cheap goals costing us dearly in tight encounters. It has a harsh result on the Railwaymen, who unlike Tuesday night had been the better side overall.
Steve Davis named an unchanged side for the visit of Dean Saunders’ Chesterfield but there was a slight change with Brad Inman operating behind Marcus Haber and Ryan Colclough switching to the left hand side.
There was also a change on the substitutes’ bench with Dean’s son Callum retuning to the bench for the injured Ryan Wintle. The club’s recent loan signing Danijel Nizic was also named in the squad ahead of youngster Kieron Harrison as the goalkeeping back-up to Ben Garratt.
Crewe Alexandra actually made a bright start to the game, trying to get on the front foot, but with their first genuine attack Chesterfield opened the scoring after just seven minutes. Rai Simons was allowed to carry the ball much too far and he delivered a low cross from the Crewe left hand side and after evading a number of bodies, it found its way to Dan Gardner.
The former Crewe forward didn't actually get a clean contact on his shot but as it flashed across the six yard box, a solid deflection off the back of Ollie Turton took it past Ben Garratt. It was another disappointing goal to concede from a Crewe point of view, and now it was another test of character to remain in the game.
Crewe continued to play some encouraging football but we were just lacking some real quality with that final ball or cross to really get in behind the Chesterfield back-line and really hurt them.
After Ben Nugent made a slip in possession close to the half way line, a switch break from Chesterfield saw Jay O’Shea shoot just wide. Although making a poor touch, Nugent did well to pull himself up and race back to put the Chesterfield midfielder off with his final shoot. Garratt was also called into action to grab a loose ball inside the six yard box after King had sliced a clearance.
A cross of quality from the impressive Ollie Turton was too high for Haber to reach it at the far post and then a forceful run from Colclough was pulled back behind Inman instead of directly to him. Fox also produced a threatening cross from the right hand side and it needed a timely header away from Ian Evatt to deny Nugent.
Chris Herd was booked for a tackle on behind on Turton and Sam Morsy for a late tackle on Cooper.
The hard working Mani Dieseruvwe continued to run the channels for the visitors and drag of our centre-halves out of position. Turton made a timely block to deny Gardner a clean shot on goal after the ball had dropped invitingly to him inside the box before we hit back.
Crewe deservedly drew level on 35 minutes after a flowing passing move. Colclough made the initial break to the by-line and his dangerous pull-back allowed Cooper and King to contest for it. They did enough to keep the ball alive and the ball dropped to Fox, who kept his composure superbly well to guide home his first goal for the club.
The equaliser pushed Crewe on and they finished the first half well on top. Inman shot over the top of the crossbar after move good approach play from Colclough before we had a golden chance to take the lead on 41 minutes. Inman spun in a pocket of space and released a perfect pass through to Cooper who went one on one with the Chesterfield keeper Tommy Lee. To his credit Lee rushed from his goal quickly to deny Cooper and Inman would be disappointed with his follow up effort. He tried to place it and stuck it a yard wide with the goal really at his mercy. If he had hit the target it would have been a certain goal.
Colclough then saw a low drive deflected just wide and Cooper curled one wide as Crewe didn’t want the first half to end.
Crewe Alexandra came out for the second half and continued to press forward looking to go ahead. A forceful run from Inman down the right flank saw him reach the by-line and clip a pass to the far post where only a heavy touch from King let him down.
From the other side, Cooper delivered a cross from the left hand side and Evatt headed clear from Haber. From the rebound Fox shot over the crossbar.
Chesterfield also threatened on the break with left back Dan Jones shooting a yard wide before Gardner’s frustrating second goal. After the full-back O'Neill had sent over a cross from the right hand, the former Crewe man fired his shot into the floor and the bounce deceived Garratt. It was such a soft goal to concede.
Chasing the game again, Crewe continued to press forward with Colclough forcing his way into the six yard box before Lee smothered the ball and Morsy made a block to deny Haber before our Canadian International headed a Fox corner wide.
Evatt was cautioned for a late lunge on Cooper and Liam O’Neill for a foul on Colclough before Jay O’Shea was allowed to run from midfield and drive a powerful shot just wide.
There was a large appeal for a penalty when a shot from Inman appeared to be blocked by a Chesterfield hand but it would have been harsh to have been given and the refree waved away those shouts.
Crewe huffed and puffed in the second half looking for an equaliser, but the ball wouldn’t drop down to Nugent at the far post after Ray had flick on a Fox corner and Inman had a shot blocked after another forceful run. It was one of those games and you had to credit Chesterfield for their spirited defending.
In the closing stages, Morsy shot straight at Garratt on a counter attack before a nice chest off from Haber sent Colclough racing through but his late effort was blocked by the retreating Charlie Raglan.
The Crewe boss introduced Callum Saunders late on for the hard working Cooper and he was so nearly played in behind late on by captain Fox but the pass was cut out and the late opportunity was lost and soon were the points.