Ainley and Adebisi score in second half as Crewe stage fight-back against Championship side Nottingham Forest
Two goals in a four minute spell in the second half saw Crewe Alexandra gallantly fight back against Championship side Nottingham Forest. A well taken finish from Callum Ainley on 75 minutes was quickly followed by arguably an even better one from young full-back Rio Adebisi four minutes later to cancel out Forest’s 2-0 lead.
Brennan Johnson had scored a brace for the visitors to put them in the driving seat but credit once again to David Artell’s Crewe side who showed that character once again to keep going.
One thing for sure it was a morale boosting display from the Railwaymen as we prepare for that seasonal opener against Cheltenham two weeks today.
David Artell continued to utilise the members of his squad to make sure they obtained sufficient game time ahead of the new season. The boss had the luxury of welcoming back new signing, midfielder Shaun MacDonald and veteran forward, Chris Porter, back from isolation. They both started.
Mikael Mandron will resume training next week.
Chris Hughton named a 22-man Nottingham Forest squad and used the possibility of naming two starting XI for each half. The Championship outfit included Joe Worrall, Jack Colback, Ryan Yates, Joe Lolley and Lewis Grabban as captain.
In a fairly even opening, Callum Ainley hit an accurate long ball through ball to Charlie Kirk on the opposite flank, but the winger elected to try and connect on the half volley and it was blocked by Jordan Lawrence Gabriel on the edge of the penalty area. Ainley then demonstrated some neat footwork close to the by-line but his side footed shot was blocked inside a crowded six yard box.
The visitors soon settled into a rhythm and pressurised Crewe in their own last third. We struggled to get out at times and that only invited pressure from the Championship side. Loic Mbe Soh found Lolley, who was never shy in shooting and his wonderful effort smacked against the Crewe crossbar after 10 minutes. It was an early warning sign of his shooting prowess.
Crewe were getting most joy down the right hand side with Kayne Ramsay and Ainley impressing as a partnership. They continued to combine to make inroads into the Forest half and get us further up the pitch. Ainley’s fierce shot was only pushed away but up in the air by Brice Samba and the rebound came at an awkward height for the rushing Porter. It was a difficult one for him to control and get on target.
Ramsay made a fantastic challenge to deny Lewis Grabban a genuine shot at goal before Kirk shot wide of the target after a busy Chris Long had found him outside the box.
Crewe were certainly making a game of it but we found ourselves behind on the half an hour mark. Jolley unleashed another powerful drive and Richards will be disappointed that he didn’t collect it. After hitting the Crewe goalkeeper and bouncing out, he reacted well to dive in-front of the onrushing Brennan Johnson but the Forest forward had applied just enough of a touch to bundle it over the line for the opening goal. It was a soft one to concede and Richards could not hide his disappointment.
The dangerous Jolley tried his luck again moments later after drifting off the Crewe left but on this occasion, his powerfully struck effort whistled just over. Midfielder Jack Colback also had a shot loop off Ramsay and end up on the top of the Crewe netting.
The right back, on loan from Southampton, caught the eye, especially in his personal battle with winger Alex Mighten.
As Crewe tried to get level before the break, another probing run from Ramsay on the right nearly saw his pass and touch from MacDonald run through to Porter but it just got away from him at the death.
Owen Dale replaced Long at the break and early on, Luke Offord did superbly to halt as threatening break from Johnson.
Ainley and Ramsay continued to combine well and the on-loan Saint shot wide after taking up an invitation to break forward. He showed his defensive capabilities again with a timely challenge on Johnson.
Crewe had captain Murphy to thank for heading a Scott McKenna header off the line via a free-kick from the right. After Murphy’s clearance there was a bit of ping-pong in the area and only Mighten will know how he didn’t score!
A loose pass into midfield from Offord was punished on 58 minutes. It landed to Lolley instead of an Alex shirt and he punished Crewe with pass into the lethal Johnson and although under pressure he slotted it perfectly past Richards for his second goal of the afternoon.
Samba continued to come for crosses and collect them with confidence and as expected the flurry of subs began for both sides. Lundstram came on for Macdonald and young Tyreece Onyeka for Kirk. They both made an impact.
Adebisi whipped over a superb free-kick that only needed a touch after Yates was booked for a foul on Ainley. It proved just too long for Dale at the far post.
From another free-kick, a well worked one saw Adebisi curl one just wide. He was setting his marker.
At the other end, Mighten shot straight at Richards and the Crewe goalkeeper did well to save at his near post from Gabriel.
Ainley fired Crewe back into the game on 75 minutes after more good work from Ramsay. It was an excellent finish from arguably Crewe’s best performer on the day.
Four minutes later, Crewe drew level thanks to Adebisi’s first goal at senior level. He found himself on the opposite side of the free-kick following a set piece and after taking a touch inside from Ramsay, he unleashed an unstoppable cross-shot past Samba for a fantastic equaliser.
Crewe could even have won it late on after the lively Onyeka robbed substitute Baba Fernandes but as he raced through on goal, he just couldn’t get his feet right to slot Porter or Dale in. It was a chance lost.
In the final minute, Colback, nearly connected with a long ball over the top but he couldn’t reach it ahead of Richards and it ended in a deserved draw.
Crewe: Richards, Ramsay, Adebisi, Daniels, Offord, MacDonald (Lundstram), Murphy, Long (Dale), Kirk (Onyeka), Porter, Ainley.