Crewe 1-1 Blackpool
Crewe: Garratt, Turton, Guthrie, Davis, Bakayogo, Jones, Hollands (Bingham, 61), Kirk (Ainley, 61), Cooper, Lowe (c), Dagnall
Unused subs: Richards, Ray, Udoh, Wintle, Ng
Goals: Lowe (70)
Attendance: 4,185 (624)
Crewe Alexandra’s recent unbeaten run continued with a 1-1 draw Gary Bowyer’s Blackpool.
The Railwaymen extended their run to five in all competitions thanks to Ryan Lowe’s equalising goal in the 70th minute. Lowe stole a yard inside the box to flick home a superb cross from the impressive George Cooper to register his 5th goal of the campaign.
The Railwaymen had to work hard to secure the point though as Bowyer’s hard working side created a number of good chances themselves and presented a threat with their height at set-plays. The Alex had to fight back from the disappointment of conceding inside the first ten minutes with the unfortunate Jon Guthrie scoring an own goal from an Andy Taylor cross.
Due to Alex Kiwoyma’s shoulder injury, sustained in last weekend’s 2-0 win at Grimsby Town, manager Steve Davis was forced into one change in midfield. Academy youngster Charlie Kirk was handed the chance to re-establish himself in the starting XI after last starting in the league against Portsmouth.
With squad members Ben Nugent and Callum Saunders also ruled out with slight injuries, there were recalls into the squad for Perry NG, Dan Udoh and Ryan Wintle.
The former Crewe promotion winner Kelvin Mellor started at right-back and our former loanee Andy Taylor at left-back. Winger Colin Daniel was named as one of the substitutes.
Crewe Alexandra’s first early chance fell to Kirk inside the opening eight minutes but he couldn’t quite reach Chris Dagnall’s dangerous cross that flew across the six-yard box
With the experienced midfielder Mark Yeates and their playmaker Jack Payne beginning to have more of an influence in possession, the visitors took the lead on 10 minutes.
The former Crewe full-back Andy Taylor sent in a cross and the stretching Jon Guthrie diverted it past his own goalkeeper Garratt. Guthrie had been forced into stretching to reach it with his head because Blackpool’s striker Armand Gnanduillet was stood in an offside position but the goal stood.
Gnanduillet was becoming a handful with his power and he headed a Mellor cross a yard wide before Zoumana Bakayogo tried to get Crewe going with a forceful run forward. The left-back latched on to a long ball from James Jones to turn and shoot goalwards but it was a yard wide of the right hand post.
Cooper gradually imposed himself on the game and his well struck free-kick was tipped over by Sam Slocombe after Lowe had been felled on the edge of the box by Tom Aldred. From the resulting corner, Danny Hollands kept the ball alive when heading it back into a crowded penalty area and it dropped for Dagnall but on the turn, the experienced goal poacher just didn’t quite get enough on it and he sent his shot straight into the grateful gloves of Slocombe.
The busy Dagnall also went down inside the penalty area but the officials waved away the strong appeals. He was also denied a tap-in at the near post after Turton delivered an accurate cross but Clark Robertson produced an outstanding clearance to somehow turn it around for a Crewe corner.
Blackpool were always a threat, using the pace and power of Gnanduillet and Kyle Vassell to get up the pitch. Garratt was called upon to save smartly with his legs to deny the energetic McAllister.
Harry Davis also had to be on hand to save his goalkeeper a moment of embarrassment when covering behind him after the Crewe number one had rushed from his line to half Vassell. The Blackpool striker headed towards an empty goal but Davis had the read the situation perfectly to head clear of danger.
With Crewe appearing a little jittery at the back, Turton was then in place to head a Gnanduillet header from the line after the Frenchman had met another corner.
Kirk tried to race onto a long ball but Slocombe read it well to race from his goal to beat the Crewe winger to it.
Before the half time interval, Crewe had the ball in the net with Ryan Lowe turning in from close range after Cooper had made himself a nuisance following a low cross from Hollands. Lowe’s instinct saw him direct Cooper’s blocked shot into the corner but it was ruled out for offside. It actually appeared closer than it looked as their appeared an injured Blackpool player laying down inside the box.
A muscle injury saw the Blackpool goalkeeper Slocombe unable to return for the second half and he had to be replaced at the break by his back-up Dean Lyness.
Kirk tried to find Lowe with a through ball early on before he was withdrawn in a double substitution along with Hollands. Ainley and Bingham came on. Soon after Davis had a shot blocked by his former team-mate Mellor as he tried to turn in a corner. Mellor was booked on his return to Gresty Road for a foul on Ainley as he threatened to get away. Aldred was also cautioned for a crunching tackle on captain Lowe.
Blackpool also made a change with Jamille Matt replacing Vassell. Gnanduillet hit a powerful shot from 25 yards that flew straight into the mid-drift of Ben Garratt.
Crewe continued to have a lot of the ball and pressed forward looking for an equaliser. We had a large majority of the possession inside the Blackpool half of the pitch but we didn’t cause subs Lyness too many saves.
With 20 minutes remaining, a moment of real quality from Cooper finally unlocked a stubborn Blackpool defence. Cooper’s accurate delivery from the right found Lowe and the experienced striker got ahead of his man to flick the ball beyond Lyness.
There only looked one winner from that point and Crewe continued to press forward looking for a winner. Cooper latched onto a loose ball on 75 minutes and he found Lowe on the edge of the penalty area. He took a positive touch before trying to curl it into the bottom corner and he was really unlucky to see his effort hit the post and bounce wide.
Cooper was also denied by the legs of the grounded Lyness as he wrestled clear of a last ditch tackle.
Blackpool’s best chance fell to Danny Philliskirk but his downward header was well held by Garratt.
Guthrie was booked for Crewe and McAlister for a challenge on Lowe but that real genuine chance to win it never fell to either team and Crewe had to settle for a point.
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