Mikael Mandron nets his 10th goal of the season to seal 1-0 win over promotion seeking Doncaster.
Crewe Alexandra’s continued their impressive home record with a deserved 1-0 win against another promotion contender Doncaster Rovers. Mikael Mandron scored his first goal since Boxing Day to seal the three points for David Artell’s side. It was the perfect response to the 3-0 defeat at Lincoln at the weekend.
Crewe created the better of the chances on the night, especially in the first half with Louis Jones certainly the busier of the two goalkeepers.
Following the 1-0 win the Alex have registered 11 home games unbeaten and are now 12th in the table and are currently four points from a possible play-off place.
Crewe Alexandra boss David Artell reverted back to a 4-3-3 formation for the visit of Andy Butler’s Doncaster Rovers to the Alexandra Stadium this.
Mikael Mandron returned to the starting line-up, flanked by Owen Dale and Charlie Kirk. Chris Porter and Stephen Walker dropped out from the side that lost 3-0 at Lincoln City.
Following a bright start, the Alex forced a succession of early corners. Following one routine straight from the training ground, Captain Harry Pickering didn’t get enough height on his delivery.
Encouraging moves saw Charlie Kirk combine with Tom Lowery before his low cross inside the six yard box was cut out by Tom Anderson. The Doncaster Rovers captain then did enough to prevent Nathan Wood from connecting with a far post header from another lifted cross from Kirk.
Dave Richards did fantastically well to halt Reece James and divert it behind for a corner. The visitors did have the ball in the net via a Jason Lokilo corner but Madger Gomes had impeded the Alex goalkeeper as he came for it.
Crewe’s best move of the first half saw Wintle release Lowery away from Matt Smith down the left hand side and after Mandron and Kirk combined superbly well, the rushing Luke Murphy made a connection at the far post but at stretch he couldn’t quite steer it home for his first goal since returning to Crewe.
Moments later, Mandron couldn’t quite collect a low ball from Pickering but it was evident that there were chances there for Crewe. Murphy lifted a perfect ball over the top for Kirk and his true cross had to flicked away by Joe Wright before it reached a Crewe head.
Those balls across the box and we always appeared the more likely side to take the lead in the first 45 minutes but that goal never came.
Pickering hit a well placed free-kick into a stubborn Doncaster wall before Owen Dale finished the half strongly, cutting off the wing and firing just wide of the target.
The half ended with a booking for Omar Beckles after he caught Taylor Richards but Crewe dealt with James Coppinger’s free-kick into our box.
Murphy continued to have licence to break forward and he had an early shot at Jones in the opening minutes of the second half.
Doncaster lost John Bostock through injury and had to be replaced by Scott Robertson.
Wintle was booked after halting Richards’ run through the middle of the pitch but Lokilo shot straight at the Crewe wall.
From a Lowery corner, Beckles got free to head at goal and Jones was forced into another good save to push it over the top of his crossbar.
The deadlock was finally broken on 56 minutes. Wright got robbed in possession by the excellent Lowery and he quickly fed Kirk. The winger carried the ball forward before finding Mandron inside the penalty area and after taking a touch and keeping his composure he planted home his 10th goal of the season. Doncaster were livid claiming that the Alex forward had been stood in an offside position when he received it and it was certainly a tight decision.
The opening goal prompted quick changes from Butler with Josh Sims and John on. John had to come on after Reece James injured himself when fouling Kirk on the half way line as he threatened to burst through on goal. He was unsurprisingly booked.
Dale and Kirk continued to be excellent in their defensive duties and young Rio Adebisi looked like he had been playing right-back at first team level for many years! Once again he was assured and competitive.
Chasing an equaliser, Doncaster began to have more of the ball. Matt Smith had a shot from distance blocked before Robertson was booked for a foul on Murphy.
Doncaster’s best chance of the entire night, saw Sims slip in the lively John but he shot inches wide of the far post. The possession stakes began to swing back in Doncaster’s favour but Crewe limited them to very little in and around our box. John had a late toe poke at goal but Richards had it covered at the foot of his post.
Mandron was replaced with 10 minutes left and Porter put a shift in again for the cause. Powell also came on for Kirk minutes later, as Crewe saw out the game to claim a deserved 3 points and clean-sheet.