Crewe left frustrated against stubbon Mansfield defence
Crewe Alexandra extended their unbeaten home record this season to six games with a draw against a stubborn Mansfield Town side. The Alex will be disappointed that we didn’t collect all three points, but Steve Davis’ side had to fight back from going a goal down after Pat Hoban had headed the Stags into the lead six minutes after the re-start.
Crewe fought back well though and found an equaliser just five minutes later when Chris Dagnall was in the right place to turn in a low cross after some splendid work from full-back Zoumana Bakayogo to win possession back and get the ball across.
Crewe’s best chance to win the game came through substitute Daniel Udoh but after holding off Krystian Pearce he fired his final shot into the side netting. Perhaps if he had gone down, Crewe could have been awarded a penalty.
Steve Davis named an unchanged side for the visit of Mansfield Town this afternoon. The Alex boss selected the same starting XI that lost heavily to Wycombe Wanderers in mid-week. In the absence of the injured Alex Kiwomya, youngster Callum Ainley retained his place in midfield ahead of fellow Academy graduate Charlie Kirk.
The Stags included the former Crewe Alexandra goalkeeper Scott Shearer and Academy graduate Chris Clements in midfield.
Adam Murray’s well drilled Mansfield Town side pride themselves on being difficult to penetrate and genuine chances were limited in the early passages of play at Gresty Road. Crewe had to compete and earn the right to get the ball down and pass the ball. It was a little scrappy in the early part of the game.
Crewe’s best effort in the opening 20 minutes saw James Jones volley a shot from 20 yards into the mid-drift of Shearer after a Cooper cross was cleared to the edge of the box.
The visitors posed a threat on the break on occasions with Pat Hoban firing over and Kevan Hurst unable to keep his effort down to trouble Ben Garratt.
Crewe’s finest move of the first half, saw the ball kept on the left hand side intelligently by Zoumana Bakayogo and Callum Ainley before Jones switched the ball to the right to Lowe. His instant cross into the box was deflected behind for a corner before Cooper could get there.
On 25 minutes, Crewe Alexandra went close again following a corner. Guthrie won the initial header to find Dagnall on the turn and his shot was blocked by Shearer, who managed to get it behind for a corner.
Moments later, an excellent cross field pass from Cooper found Dagnall through the middle and the experienced striker did superbly to guide a header down for Lowe and his snap shot forced Shearer to push it behind for a corner.
Mansfield continued to press well and make things difficult for the Alex to have sustained possession in the final third of the pitch.
The Stags’ best chance of the first period came from a free-kick close to the half-way line. It was played deep into the Crewe half and after the towering Rhys Bennett had made a nuisance of himself, Danny Rose sent a diving header just wide. Rose was also booked for preventing Garratt from clearing the ball out his hands quickly.
Mitch Rose was booked for sliding with his studs up as he attempted to place Cooper under pressure.
Crewe continued to probe and finished the half on top in terms of possession. A low cross from the advanced Turton was poked behind for a corner and Jones had a shot blocked after a Turton pass was fortunately deflected into his path. The midfielder hit it with the outside of his foot to try and catch Shearer across his goal but the impressive Lee Collins deflected it behind for a corner.
From the resultant corner, taken by Cooper, Harry Davis glanced a header goalwards that was cleared from the post. The defender helped his goalkeeper out to clear.
After a torrential downpour at the break, Mansfield took the lead just five minutes into the second half when Pat Hoban showed good strength at the far post to head home past Ben Garratt at the far post.
career goal. th goal of the season and his 100thMansfield were stubborn in their defending and now we had to break them down to get back into the game. Crewe showed great character to hit back within five minutes. Bakayogo showed great determination to win the ball back and he did superbly to get a cross over from the by-line and Dagnall was there to fire his shot into the roof the Mansfield net for his 4
Jones, who was one of Crewe’s most impressive players, was booked for pulling back Jamie McGuire in the centre circle before Ainley made way for Udoh on 64 minutes. Crewe went looking for a win, with Udoh supporting Lowe and Dagnall.
Harry Davis appeared to pick up a knock and was replaced by George Ray. Mansfield also made a change with Rose replaced by Oscar Gobern. Mansfield continued to be tough nut to crack and you must credit their defensive performance as Crewe found it difficult to conjure up real genuine chances. Ray won a header from a corner, that was palmed down by Shearer into the six yard box and he must have been relieved to have seen the assistant’s flag go up for offside before Lowe could make something of it.
The visitors’ best chance to win it themselves came from free-kicks but Guthrie was excellent and cleared numerous high balls with his head or slid to cut out crosses.
Crewe’s best chance to win the game saw Udoh latch on to a long ball from Bakayogo but after wrestling clear of the intentions of Pearce, he fired his shot into the side netting. The substitute also had a late break down the left but his cross, destined for Lowe at the far post was just about cut out before it reached the Crewe striker in front of the goal.
The Railwaymen huffed and puffed but just couldn’t find that late chance to sneak the points.