Crewe beaten by Stags after early goals in each half and a late Rhys Bennett goal.
Crewe Alexandra’s poor run of results continued with a 3-0 defeat at Mansfield Town this afternoon. An early goal from Yoann Arquin and a second from Ben Whiteman just minutes into the second half condemned the Alex to no wins in seven games. Rhys Bennett rubbed salt into the wounds with a third goal with six minutes left.
Crewe have struggled for goal of late and it was another blank at Field Mill as the Mansfield goalkeeper Jake Kean made a fine save to deny Crewe a possible route back into the game when saving from close range from Chris Dagnall.
The Alex also had a strong shout for a penalty award at 1-0 after Zoumana Bakayogo was clipped but initially tried to retain his balance and go on. He was unable to keep his feet but referee Mark Brown awarded a goal kick.
Youngsters Callum Saunders and Ryan Wintle (illness) Tom Lowery (thigh) were unavailable for Crewe. Steve Davis named an unchanged team for the trip to Field Mill this afternoon with the fit again Ryan Lowe having to settle for a place on the substitutes’ bench. It was the fourth consecutive game that the Alex boss named the same starting eleven.
Mansfield Town also named an unchanged team, following their impressive win over Blackpool on Bank Holiday Monday which meant goalkeeper Scott Shearer and midfielder Chris Clements started on the bench.
The game started with a good pace to it as both sides tried to dictate the early play, but Mansfield’s first major venture into the Crewe penalty area resulted in the opening goal after just four minutes.
A high cross was loaded into the box and after both Davis and Guthrie tried to get some distance on their headed clearances, the ball dropped invitingly to Yoann Arquin and he fired through a crowd of bodies and past a helpless Ben Garratt. It was the worst possible start for the Railwaymen and the lively goalscorer Arquin then headed over the top of the Crewe crossbar soon after.
Crewe had some bursts into the final third but our deliveries into the box were far too comfortable for Mansfield Town’s Jake Kean to collect.
On 15 minutes, Mansfield were presented with a free-kick in a good position following a foul by Jones, but Ben Whiteman struck his effort straight down the throat of a well placed Garratt.
After surviving the free-kick, Jones then spread the play out to the willing runner Zoumana Bakayogo and on this occasion, the left-back chose to ignore Cooper on the left and decided to try his luck from just over 20 yards out. His low drive was well held by Kean.
Crewe survived a whipped over free kick from Joel Byrom and as Cooper cleared from the edge of the box, he was caught late by Whiteman, who went into the referee’s notebook for the challenge.
On 25 minutes, Crewe had an almighty penalty shout after Zoumana Bakayogo was clipped as he raced into the Mansfield box. The left-back tried to be honest and remain on his feet, but the touch on his ankle meant he was unable to do so.
Understandably, the Alex players looked at referee Mark Brown to award a penalty but he amazingly pointed for a goal kick, much to the annoyance of the players on the pitch and the staff off it. The debate on why should a player want to remain on his feet, if they do not get a decision when they are impeded rages on?
Five minutes later, Crewe didn’t really take advantage of a good position after Kiwomya had threaded the ball through to Dagnall. The captain had to take a touch but he was still able to find Cooper on the left hand side and his cross aimed for the far post was cut out and deflected through to Kean. Crewe had managed to get numbers into the opposition penalty area and it was a chance lost.
At the other end, a good run in behind from Matt Green allowed the Stags to progress in the final third, but Arquin couldn’t quite get a forceful touch on a cross from CJ Hamilton.
As a pretty even first half drew to a close, both sides continued to try and play the right way. The quality was just lacking in the final third of the pitch to really test either goalkeeper.
Ryan Lowe replaced Alex Kiwomya at the start of the second half. Lowe moved up front to help Dagnall with Kirk moving to right hand side. It was Mansfield who created the first genuine chance of the second period and Crewe were a bit unfortunate that right-back Rhys Bennett hit the side netting after a low cross had evaded everyone to fall to him at the far post.
The second goal for the home side was not long in coming though. Turton did well to get a block on the first effort but the rebound fell to Whiteman and his fierce shot from the edge of the box whistled past Garratt. The Crewe goalkeeper seemed to have got his gloves on it but he didn’t get enough on it to keep the shot out. Three minutes into the second half and Crewe had an uphill battle at Field Mill.
It could have been a lot worse for the Alex within the first five minutes of the restart after Green had shown great pace up against the covering Harry Davis, but instead of rolling it across the six-yard for an easy tap-in for his strike partner Arquin, he elected to try and take on the chance himself but got his feet in a muddle and a very good chance was lost.
In response, Dagnall tried to connect to a low cross from Turton but the Mansfield goalkeeper Kean did well to avert the danger with his feet.
Goalscorer Whiteman then tried his luck with a curling effort from the edge of the Crewe box but Garratt was equal to it. Likewise, Cooper had our best chance for a while with a well struck shot that Kean had to push away from danger.
On the hour mark, Mansfield made their first change with Danny Rose replacing Green. Rose was soon involved in the action and after he had teed up Byrom, his powerful shot was palmed out by Garratt and the rebound should have been tucked home by Bennett. Bakayogo did exceedingly well to throw himself at the player and forced Bennett to hit it against the outside of the post.
There was a difficult chance for Dagnall after Kean had left his goal unintended but the Crewe striker couldn’t direct it on target.
Cooper made way for Callum Ainley on 69 minutes to try and offer something different in the final third. The tireless Bakayogo continued to press forward but nothing was really formulating for Crewe. On a decent break forward, Lowe was a bit unfortunate that his slipped pass didn’t quite release Dagnall through on goal.
With 15 minutes remaining, Crewe’s best chance of the game fell to Dagnall via a corner, but from close range he was denied by Jake Kean and his surrounding defenders managed to respond and hook the ball away. It was a fine save from the Stags goalkeeper and prevented Crewe from having a passage back into the game. Soon after Bingham drilled a shot come cross passed a selection of bodies.
As Crewe began to apply some concerted pressure, Mansfield made a change with James Baxendale replacing Whiteman.
Mansfield completed their scoring on the day with six minutes left. Rhys Bennett, who had tried desperately to grab a goal all afternoon finally did when he poked home from close range from a corner.