Anderson scores only goal as Lincoln inflict home defeat on the Alex.
Crewe Alexandra couldn’t build on a fantastic result at Doncaster at Saturday as league leaders Lincoln City impressed at the Alexandra Stadium to win 1-0 this evening. It was easy to see why Lincoln sit top of the table as they created a number of good chances in the first period.
Crewe had Will Jaaskelainen to thank for keeping us in the game with two fantastic double saves in each half. The visitors also hit the woodwork through defender Lewis Montsma in the opening minute and forward Tom Hopper before Harry Anderson wriggled free five minutes before the break to fire home the only goal of the game.
Crewe certainly rallied in the second half of the second half but that real chance never dropped for us in the closing stages with Chris Porter and Daniel Powell introduced to give us more presence and aerial threat.
Crewe Alexandra boss David Artell made two changes from the side that defeated Doncaster Rovers 2-1 on Saturday.
For the visit of table topping Lincoln City, Tom Lowery, was rested after making his first league start since January with Luke Murphy returning to the starting line-up. Owen Dale also returned for Daniel Powell on the right wing. Defender Donervon Daniels returned from injury to take his place on the substitutes bench.
The former Crewe Alexandra Academy graduate, James Jones, once again started for Lincoln City following his summer switch to the LNER Stadium.
A confident Lincoln City side started really brightly at Gresty Road and their centre-half, Lewis Montsma rattled the Crewe crossbar in the opening minute. He tried his luck from over 30 yards out and had Will Jaaskelainen scrambling across his goal.
That effort set an early marker and the visitors continued to seek out an early opener. From a corner routine, Conor McGrandles won the initial header before the well placed Tom Hopper shot straight at Jaaskelainen.
Then from a well struck short free-kick, James Jones forced the busy Alex goalkeeper into a superb double save. He got down well to palm out Jones’ drilled shot and then managed to recover to prevent Montsma from the rebound. Jaaskelainen performed admirably to get up and save from close range.
Omar Beckles was then called upon to block a shot from the impressive winger, Brennan Johnson. A deep far post cross from Lincoln’s full-back, Timothy Eyoma found Hopper in space but his downward header hit the foot of the post and stayed out. Johnson couldn’t control the rebound to get a shot on target.
The Alex goal was leading a bit of a charmed life.
Crewe made a slow start to the proceedings but an accurate cross from Pickering was met by the the head of Mandron, but under severe pressure, he couldn’t direct it goalwards enough to test Alex Palmer. The club’s leading scorer did force Palmer into his first save after he connected with a whipped in cross from Murphy on the right.
The Alex did begin to settle and get some joy in the final third. Our best bet to create something ws young Owen Dale up against Tayo Edun. Dale forced Joe Walsh to head over his own crossbar with Mandron waiting in the wings and he then went close with a fantastic take in the six yard box. Dale was denied by the grounded Palmer at the foot of his post.
It was more threatening from Crewe as the wind and rain started to play havoc. Murphy was booked for a sliding tackle into McGradles before the visitors finally took the lead on 39 minutes from the second phase of that free-kick.
In fairness, it was deserved for their first half showing. The tricky Harry Anderson was fed by a header down from Jones, and after wriggling away from Wintle, he fired an arrowed shot past Jaaskelainen.
Crewe tried to respond before the half time interval with Wintle firing goalwards from distance. Palmer did well to pounce on it before it bounced in front of him and cause him more trouble.
Beckles also had his goalkeeper to thank for reacting to a short back pass. Hopper tried to charge it down and was rather unfortunate to see it deflect off him but wide of the target.
Lincoln created a superb early chance with McGrandles laying off a long ball for Johnson and his fierce shot was saved by Jaaskelainen’s strong hand. The ball looped into the air and looked as though it was going to bounce over the line or Hopper was going to apply a decisive touch, only for the excellent Jaaskelainen to scramble back and hook it away from him. It was another stunning double save from Crewe’s best performer on the night.
Lincoln went in search for a killer second goal with Anderson going close to touching home in the six yard box. Beckles and Offord did enough to put him off.
The first chance saw Lowery replace Murphy and his first involvement saw him feed Ng and his wicked cross whistled right across the six yard box. It only needed a touch.
The ball kept coming back into the Crewe half but slowly but surely, the Alex began to get a hold again. There was a penalty shout when Pickering went down inside the box before a double change saw Porter and Powell introduced for Ainley and Dale with 20 minutes left.
The extra height and physical aspect of our play saw the ball go longer at times, searching for Porter and Mandron in the air but credit Lincoln who defended their box really well.
That real, genuine opportunity never really fell for us in the closing stages that could have resulted in us nicking a point. Mandron went close to reaching a low cross from Powell and a teasing ball from Pickering was just too long for Porter.
A late volley from Lowery via a corner was a difficult execution and a late half chance saw Porter flick a header wide from a Kirk cross.
Crewe huffed and puffed in the final 15 minutes but we couldn't find that equaliser to perhaps share the spoils on the night.