Tense affair ends in draw at Mornflake Stadium
A tense encounter at Mornflake Stadium ended 1-1 this evening. Chris Porter scored his 50th goal of his Crewe Alexandra career after Billy Sass-Davies did remarkably to touch back a cross from Tom Lowery to allow the veteran to head home from close range but it wouldn't be enough in the end to secure a second win of the campaign.
Crewe had the better of the first half but we went in level after Joseph Olowu helped himself to a wicked delivery from full-back Kyle Knoyle in first half stoppage time. Crewe were disappointed that the referee played over the three minutes he had originally signalled.
To their credit, Doncaster created the better of the second half chances and Crewe had the recalled Dave Richards to thank for making a decisive save when we so nearly got caught out on the counter attack. Tiago Cukur also shot wide after being played through.
Following the weekend defeat to MK Dons, David Artell made five changes to his starting line-up for the visit of fellow strugglers Doncaster Rovers. Returning to the side was goalkeeper David Richards, defenders Billy Sass-Davies and Terell Thomas. Scott Kashket was implemented as a left wing back with Rio Adebisi retaining his place on the right hand side.
Chris Porter led the line alongside Christopher Long with Mikael Mandron dropping back down to the substitutes’ bench.
With so much at stake, Crewe tried to get on the front foot and in the opening minute a clip over the top from Luke Offord finding a willing runner in Long but the ball just ran out play before his cross to the far post presented Porter with an early opportunity.
Soon after, the recalled Billy Sass-Davies made a timely interception to prevent a low cross from Matt Smith from reaching a blue shirt.
Long’s night didn’t last too much longer. He seemed to aggravate a groin muscle when lifting the ball over a Doncaster head and although he tried to run it off, he was forced off after 12 minutes. Crewe had to conduct an early switch around with Madger Gomes coming on in the wing back position and Kashket reverting back to the support act to Porter.
Richards was hardly called upon in the first half but he had to collect a high ball after Joe Dodoo got a touch close to goal. A strong run from Joseph Olowu saw him take on Rio Adebisi and with Lowery trying to retreat, the full-back shot over.
A flowing move from the Alex saw the midfield combine superbly with Robertson’s through ball so nearly playing Kashket through.
Crewe continued to dominate the possession but a few offside decisions that halted us in our tracks.
On the half an hour mark, a clever header Chris Porter found Lowery and his instant through ball nearly played Kashket through but Ro-Shaun Williams covered well to allow it to run through to Pontus Dahlberg.
It was scrappy at times with the game crying out for some real quality and thankfully it came on 33 minutes. Lowery sent over a teasing cross from the left and although the ball looked like drifting out at the far post, Sass-Davies stretched back to reach it and touch it back and past Williams. Porter was handily placed to nod home into the empty net. It was no more than Crewe deserved at the time.
Moments later, Robertson made a fantastic block to keep us ahead.
Before the break, Crewe went in search of a second goal that could have proved crucial but we couldn’t find that cushion. A deep cross from Adebisi was headed out by Tom Anderson. Sass-Davies stepped out and found Kashket and his wicked cross was turned behind at the far post by Knoyle.
It looked more likely that Crewe would score the second goal of the evening but it would be Doncaster deep into stoppage time. Crewe looked to have dealt with a late corner and the game had gone over by 29 seconds of the three minutes shown when Olowu turned in Knoyle’s excellent cross into a crowded box.
The second period began with Crewe trying to grab the game by the scruff of the neck and launch attacks. Our best chance of the second half fell again to Porter after great work on the wing from Lowery. It sat up nicely for the experienced forward but he fired his shot straight at Dahlberg.
Doncaster were prepared to commit fouls to stop some our attacks building. Williams blocked off Kashket to earn himself a booking.
Then Crewe survived a real scare when a Robertson free-kick didn’t come off and Doncaster broke with real intent. They raced forward in numbers with Cukur playing it across the box and Crewe ahd to rely on Richards to make an excellent, almost point blank save to deny Smith. It was a fantastic and important save on a tense night.
Doncaster were getting joy from crosses into our box but a longer ball then saw Cukur through on goal but not for the first time on the night, Billy Sass-Davies did enough to put him off and he sliced his effort wide of the target. It was another let off.
The changes came with Robertson off for Mandron in a real positive move to try and win the game, but in truth, it was the visitors who appeared the more likely side to win it. Murphy was called upon to whack a dangerous cross out of our six yard box and they did have a goal ruled off for offside when Jordi Hiwula finished a pass from Smith.
Sass-Davies made a rare slip on an impressive performance to allow Cukur in on goal but Offord made a superb block to deny Hiwula.
The last throw of the dice saw Bennett on for Crewe and Bostock on for Doncaster but neither could conjure up a late, real chance.
It ended 1-1 with both sides probably settling for a draw, too fearful of defeat as the battle at the bottom continues.