Crewe Alexandra manager David Artell was pleased with the response and reaction of his players after they contained the play-off placed Portsmouth just three days after conceding six at home to Oxford United.
Artell made six changes to the side that in his own words ‘surrendered’ to the U’s at the weekend but with fresh players handed their opportunities, they produced a hard working performance to claim a clean-sheet and a point. It was deserved.
The Alex still needed a well judged save from Will Jaaskelainen to deny John Marquis a potential winning goal from the penalty spot just shy of the hour mark. The Alex goalkeeper deserved his morale boosting shut-out after also making two outstanding saves in either half as well.
Following the goalless draw at the Alexandra Stadium, Artell told the club’s official website: “If you keep a team with all the resources Portsmouth to zero goals, especially with the goals we conceded down there then you have to be relatively pleased.
“We also had some chances as well, a coupled of great chances. I don’t think any Crewe fan can say that the players didn’t show any grit or resilience this evening. The effort was there and you know me, that should be a given and there is no disguising that.
“It was back to basics after Saturday and we played a bit differently because Danny and Nicky are on my pro-licence course and I did a presentation on how we play a few weeks ago, so I know they knew exactly how we played, so we had to do something different.
“Will has produced saves that make sure we protected our clean-sheet and got a point. The save before half time from the scramble was terrific and he made a very good one with one handed in the second half when we gave the ball away too cheaply close to our own goal.
“We know about his record on saving penalties. With him in that situation, you always feel he has a chance. He saved one on Saturday and was unlucky with the rebound but tonight he judged it right again and made a good save to make sure we didn’t concede.
“I thought we controlled the game more after the penalty miss. I thought we kept the ball better and had one or two chances of our own.
“I thought Antony was good tonight, that is the level he has to perform at from now until the end of the season. He was a threat with his delivery and went close to scoring with an excellent free-kick.”