Crewe 0-2 Crawley
Crewe: Garratt, Ng, Davis, Guthrie, Turton, Jones (Kirk, 82), Hollands (Nugent, 86), Cooper, Kiwomya (Ainley, 75), Lowe (c), Dagnall
Unused Subs: Richards, Bingham, Lowery, Udoh
Attendance: 3,392 (73)
Two poor defensive mistakes from Crewe Alexandra gifted wrapped Crawley three points at the Alexandra Stadium.
Errors from full-back Perry Ng in the first half and a lapse pass out from goalkeeper Ben Garratt with 15 minutes remaining gave James Collins two simple goals. The 2-0 defeat sends Crewe to 14th place in League Two.
Crewe huffed and puffed but lacked the real quality to really open up a well drilled and organised Crawley back line. The visitors' defended superbly well and made it difficult for Crewe to conjure up too many genuine chances. Our best chances fell to Chris Dagnall, who shot just wide at the start of the second half and Ryan Lowe had a late far post effort saved by Glenn Morris.
Left back Zoumana Bakayogo is close to a return to first-team action but this afternoon’s home encounter with Crawley Town came too soon. The Ivory Coast born defender hasn’t featured since aggravating his hamstring against Plymouth Argyle on 12th November. Perry Ng switched to right-back and the versatile Ollie Turton moved across to left-back.
Midfielder Billy Bingham returned from injury to take his place on the Crewe bench. Bingham had not featured since late October away at Leyton Orient.
The Railwaymen were aiming to put a heavy 4-0 defeat to Colchester United behind them and started promisingly against Dermot Drummy’s Red Devils at Gresty Road without really troubling Glenn Morris on too many occasions.
Crewe Alexandra’s first half chance of the afternoon arrived in the opening 10 minutes but defender Harry Davis couldn’t quite direct his far post header on target after Chris Dagnall had clipped a cross over.
The game became a bit stop-start and was littered with some loose passes and needless fouls.
Influential wingers’ George Cooper and Alex Kiwomya steadily got themselves into the game and some forceful play from Cooper on the right hand side, eventually saw Kiwomya lift one over the crossbar.
Captain Ryan Lowe was also just beaten in the air by the towering Crawley centre-half Josh Yorwerth as he attempted to get on to a cross from Turton.
The visitors from West Sussex provided a danger on the counter attack though and a low cross from left-back Andre Blackman only needed a touch inside the six-yard box before they took the lead on 21minutes.
The experienced goalscorer James Collins took full advantage of a mistake made by Perry Ng to volley the Red Devils in front. Ng failed to control a cross properly and it fell perfectly for Collins, who simply finished from close range.
Collins nearly doubled the lead soon after a superb build up had seen Billy Clifford lay off for his partner to strike but his deflected effort rebounded enough to clear the right hand post. It was a lucky escape for the Railwaymen and we needed Ben Garratt to keep us in the game when he was called upon to deny Enzio Boldewjin in a one-on-one situation.
Cooper tried to lift Crewe with a clipped pas forward but again Yorwerth managed to get a touch on it to just take it away from the willing runner Dagnall, who had tried to steal in behind the Crawley back line.
The Crewe wingers swapped wings and although we continued to enjoy more of the possession, it became a struggle to conjure up too many clear cut chances. Crawley had the lead, were well drilled and organised in their defending. Our final ball into the box was lacking. A great move though did see Jones find Kiwomya and his low cross was scrambled over the bar as Lowe went in for a tap-in.
Crewe’s best chance came with five minutes of the first half remaining with Ng nearly making amends for his mistake after he had slipped past Blackman by flicking the ball over him and his cut back was flashed wide by Kiwomya.
The Alex started the second half on the front foot and played at a quicker pace which resulted in Cooper firing over the crossbar and Chris Dagnall drilled a decent effort wide after he had evaded a couple of challenges on the edge of the Crawley box.
A swift break from a Crawley corner, then saw Kiwomya break at pace but Lowe was penalised for a foul as the ball ended the penalty area and the move was cut dead. Crewe had a loud shout for a penalty when Jon Guthrie seemed to be impeded at the far post but referee David Webb elected to give the foul the other way.
Crawley continued to work hard and pressed us into playing backwards. Jordon Roberts shot just wide with a low shot for Drummy’s side before the two managers made changes. Bobson Bawling replaced Boldewjin and Callum Ainley came on for Kiwomya.
Barely 60 seconds later a poor defensive mix-up between Guthrie and Garratt gifted Collins with his second goal of the afternoon on 75 minutes. Guthrie rolled the ball back to his goalkeeper but his pass back to him was loose and Billy Clifford took full advantage and his low cross was gratefully tucked home by Collins.
Another change from Steve Davis saw Kirk replace Jones. Crewe tried to set up a late finale but Lowe’s far post shot was well held by Morris after he had been picked out by Dagnall.
Dagnall also headed a late Kirk cross over the bar before a determined run from Ainley saw his deflected effort loop over.
Another disappointment from the day was a late booking for centre-half Harry Davis after he got a grip of Clifford as he tried to roll him.
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