Owen Dale brace gives Crewe well deserved point at the Valley. Dale second equalising goal comes in 95th minute.
Crewe Alexandra produced one of their most assured away performances of the season to emerge with a well deserved point for our efforts at the Valley. The in-form Owen Dale hit a stunning injury-time equaliser to seal a brace in a thrilling 2-2 draw. It was no more than Crewe deserved.
David Artell’s Alex side controlled much of the game and arguably looked the more threatening side on the night - but it looked as though we would end up with nothing thanks to Alex Gilbey’s 83rd minute close range header from a corner.
Crewe recovered tremendously well after conceding to Charlton’s first real attack after 9 minutes. Jayden Stockley’s powerful header from Gilbey’s cross gave Jaaskelainen no chance but we deservedly drew level on 66 minutes thanks to another calm finish from winger Owen Dale.
At that stage, it looked like Crewe more than Charlton who would go on and perhaps win the game but a lapse of concentration at the corner, saw Gilbey find space inside a crowded box to nod home.
The Alex didn’t give up though and deservedly drew level in dramatic fashion when Dale struck a half volley past a helpless Amos for the first double of his professional career.
Crewe Alexandra boss David Artell made three changes to the side that drew 1-1 with Rochdale on Saturday.
Owen Dale, Nathan Wood and Callum Ainley returned to the starting line-up with Chris Porter, Olly Lancashire and Antony Evans returning to the bench.
Charlton Athletic manager, Nigel Adkins, named the former Crewe loanee striker, Chuks Aneke on the substitutes’ bench.
Crewe made a positive start to the proceedings and following a strong run down the left hand side from Callum Ainley his centre, aimed for Owen Dale at the far post, was just a tough too high.
Charlton’s Adam Matthews tried to get Crewe on the back foot with a long throw from the left touchline but after making a clever burst to the near post, midfielder Jake Forster-Caskey didn’t apply enough of a touch on his attempted flick goalwards and it became a routine collection for Will Jaaskelainen.
The home side didn’t have to wait too much longer for the break through. Just shy of 10 minutes, Alex Gilbey was slipped in down the right hand side by Liam Millar to fire over a cross and Jayden Stockley stole a yard of space on Donervon Daniels to plant his diving header past a defenceless Jaaskelainen. It was a fantastic header from the Charlton number 9 that clipped post on its way in.
After making a fairly bright start, Crewe found themselves behind after Charlton’s first major attack of the night.
Ainley tried to conjure up something pretty quickly and his intelligent pull back saw Dale lash a shot against a Charlton body. Mikael Mandron then had a couple of half chances but his efforts both with his head and foot lacked genuine power to trouble Ben Amos in the Charlton goal. Wintle also shot wide from distance but Amos watched it clear his post.
Despite the early set-back of Stockley’s headed opener, Crewe continued to have their fair share of possession and there were occasions when that final ball into the Charlton box just lacked the accuracy to really create an opening.
After a frenetic 25 minutes, there was a short stoppage when Charlton’s Matthews needed treatment. He recovered and moments later, Dale was incorrectly booked for a foul Rio Adebisi conceded! The winger was not impressed with Trevor Kettle’s act of mistaken identity.
On 33 minutes, Pickering again found Ainley in a pocket of space and after he drifted across the Charlton box without electing to get his own shot off, he found Dale, who duly did and flashed a shot just wide. A minute later, Mandron did well as provider from the left by-line, but Lowery couldn’t quite bring the ball down in a really promising position. There was certainly more than a hint of Crewe being able to apply pressure on the Charlton back line.
In first half stoppage time, Wood became the second Crewe player to be booked, but Mandron defended the incoming free-kick really well at the far post.
The Addicks though did have another chance from a better placed free-kick some 25 yards from goal but Forster-Caskey fired wastefully into our stubborn wall.
The Alex continued to enjoy more of the ball but finished the half trailing to Stockley’s early header.
Lowery had a sight of the Charlton goal early on in the second half after a touch from Mandron rolled into his path but his curling shot was too close to Amos.
Charlton winger, Ian Maatsen was booked for a foul on Pickering as he attempted to clear up field. Soon he would be replaced by Conor Washington.
On 56 minutes, Dale found space and drove at the Charlton box. His initial pass into the box was blocked by his second touch slipped Mandron in the right channel of the penalty area and his low cross across the six-yard box had to be turned around for a corner. Mandron just couldn’t pick out Ainley or Kirk more accurately.
With the game beginning to be littered with little fouls and needless stoppages, Crewe’s assistant Kenny Lunt was booked for in the words of referee Kettle ‘for making too much noise!” The cards continued with Gilbey and Pearce booked for Charlton.
Following an untidy scramble inside the Charlton box on 62 minutes, Crewe had a fair shout when Dale looked to be nudged in the back as he rose to meet a cross. From the ensuing melee, Ainley couldn’t quite get a clean enough shot off and it was cleared before Kirk could make anything of the loose rebound.
At the other end, the lively Millar shot a rising shot over the Crewe crossbar.
In truth though, it looked like Crewe more likely to score again and we duly did on 66 minutes. The Alex pressure told with Dale once again showing real composure to check back and fire past Amos for his 11th goal of the season. Lowery provided the pass into Dale and the winger did the rest.
Charlton made an instant change with Aneke on for Millar but again it was the Railwaymen going close with Ainley’s goal bound effort inside the box deflected over for a corner.
With 16 minutes left, Adkins made a double change with Ben Watson and Stockley making way for Ryan Inniss and Darren Pratley.
Aneke used his physical presence to cause some discomfort for Wood and Daniels but the Crewe centre-backs did enough to off balance him and he could only shoot wide. Minutes later, the former Alex loanee showed real close control before firing low at Jaaskelainen.
Pickering was also there to make a timely block on a shot from Gilbey as the Addicks tried to hit us on the counter-attack after Akin Famewo had pinched possession from Dale. From the resultant corner, Charlton made the set-piece count with Gilbey well placed to divert his header through the legs of Jaaskelaien for a vital goal for the home side. It was harsh on Crewe but Artell will be disappointed to have conceded from a set-play after playing so well.
Crewe had seven minutes plus injury time to salvage something from the game. Porter soon came on for Ainley.
Aneke with his quick feet went close to sealing it and Pickering did well again to block a shot from Washington on the break.
To their credit the fresh legs of Charlton in forward areas certainly made a difference as they tried to see the game out. It nearly paid off but with barely 30 seconds of the allocated 5 of stoppage time, that man Dale did it again. He produced a stunning half volley that gave Amos no chance and gave Crewe a thoroughly deserved point. Our first ever against Charlton.