Lowery off the bench to score on his return but Crewe suffer late blow to two-goal Tafazolli.
Football can be awfully cruel and Crewe in desperate need of the rub of the green didn't get it here.
Tom Lowery came off the substitutes’ bench to mark his first league minutes of the season with a goal at Adams Park, but it wasn’t enough for a point after the towering Ryan Tafazolli scored a winner deep into stoppage time. Crewe looked like they had survived the late barrage but eventually conceded in the 97th minute with the defender tucking home a Jordan Obita cross.
The centre-half had also scored with the final touch of the first half when a shot from Curtis Thompson struck him on its way past Will Jaaskelainen.
It was so cruel on Crewe Alexandra, who were such good value for a point. The spirited Railwaymen had battled so hard, defended well and stood up to a barrage of balls into our box, but it wasn’t to be with Wycombe’s late pressure telling in injury time. You also had to credit Gareth Ainsworth's side for their late finish to the game.
Lowery, who was named in the 18-man squad despite his on-going contract saga, played a clever one-two with fellow sub, Mikael Mandron to race into the Wycombe penalty area. His first cross shot was saved by David Stockdale but the midfielder kept his composure to slide home the rebound. It was a fantastic moment of our season and should have been worth the point.
Crewe had to stand up to crosses, free-kicks and corners to ride some storms against Gareth Ainsworth’s side. We had Jaaskelainen to thank for saving well from Brandon Hanlan and Sam Vokes. Curtis Thompson also hit the foot of the post in a crazy melee.
Rio Adebisi was also denied a stunning volley in the first half and David Stockdale saved superbly from Madger Gomes after he mis-hit a cross.
David Artell shuffled his pack again for the trip to Adams Park. Billy Sass-Davies and Rio Adebisi came into the back five with Callum McFazdean operating down the left hand side.
The Spaniard Madger Gomes came into the starting line-up for his full league debut for the club and Chris Porter was preferred to Mikael Mandron in the forward line alongside Christopher Long.
A strong Alex bench included Mandron, Terell Thomas, Oli Finney and winger J’Neil Bennett. The 18 also included midfielder Tom Lowery. The club are trying to work out a short term solution to his contract situation and welcome him back into the first-team fold. Lowery’s only other appearance this season came against Shrewsbury Town in the Papa John’s Trophy.
The former Wycombe Wanderers striker, Scott Kashket, began on the substitutes’ bench. Kashket joined Crewe in the summer after a successful five years with Gareth Ainsworth’s side.
Before kick-off Wycombe showed a touch of real class by presenting Scott with a Wycombe shirt to show their appreciation for his time with the club.
Former Alex loanee defender, Anthony Stewart, started for the home side with veteran forward, Adebayo Akinfenwa named amongst the Wycombe substitutes.
In the opening minute, winger Jordan Obita was prepared to take on Adebisi and his low cross nearly found Brandon Hanlan inside a crowded penalty area. Hanlan went over under pressure from Donveron Daniels, but had toppled over far too easily, didn’t appeal too much, and referee Stephen Martin was perfectly placed to say no penalty.
It took Crewe the opening minutes to settle into the game. Ainsworth’s side always play with high intensity and energy and Crewe had to resist some early pressure. An early corner from Joe Jacobson was flicked away by our captain Luke Murphy.
On eight minutes, Robertson made a timely interception to prevent a Josh Scowen pass from slipping Garath McCleray in behind and after looking forward, hit a terrific long ball that caused some nervousness in the Wycombe backline as it headed towards Porter - but the Wycombe goalkeeper, David Stockdale, read the situation to leave his box to clear up field. Robertson also had Crewe’s shot from 20 yards that was blocked.
Crewe continued to be steadfast in their defending, with Billy Sass-Davies decisive in his decision making and Jaaskelainen assured in collecting crosses. Vokes headed one onto the top of the Crewe net though after a probing run and cross from Scowen.
On 14 minutes, some great work from Long saw him rob possession out on the left hand side and after electing to head for goal, his firm shot had to be pushed behind for a corner by Stockdale.
On 23 minutes, Wycombe broke through the Crewe ranks with Hanlon getting in behind. The former Bristol Rovers man raced onto the through ball and wanted to round the rushing Jaaskelainen, but the Finnish stopper did fantastically well. He timed his interception with his hand perfectly to take it away from the Wycombe forward and send it behind for a corner. He needed a brief period of attention after making the save, but was able to continue.
On 34 minutes, a longer ball from Wycombe found the head of Vokes and he headed down into the direction of Hanlon in front of the Crewe goal. He must have thought he had given the home side the lead after getting his shot off but Billy Sass-Davies came across to make a fantastic block. It prevented a certain goal and it was no wonder he was congratulated by his team-mates. Moments later, McCleary curled an effort straight at the Alex goalkeeper.
Four minutes later, Crewe’s direct approach so nearly paid off. Porter challenged in the air and as the clearance dropped, Adebisi struck an almost perfect volley that looked destined to open the scoring only for Stockdale to make a superb fingertip save. It was a wonderful stop.
With the game opening up as he headed into the last few minutes of the first half, Gomes whistled a shot just wide of the far post and McFadzean read a dangerous situation really intelligently to prevent McCleary from potentially having a clear shot at goal.
Adebisi became the first Crewe player to be booked for catching Obita, but again we dealt with the free-kick coming into our box really well. McFadzean was also booked as we headed towards half-time and the award of another free-kick would prove costly.
Crewe had defended solidly all half but Jacobson’s free-kick was cleared into the path of Curtis Thompson and his bouncing shot hit Ryan Tafazolli on its way past Jaaskelainen. It was an unfortunate deflection to defeat the Crewe goalkeeper and just about sums up our luck at the moment. It was the last touch of the half and Crewe hadn’t deserved that.
Crewe began the second half with a low shot on the turn from McFadzean and at the other end, the handful that was Hanlan, fired inches over the crossbar. From a Murphy free-kick there was a loud shout from the Alex fans when Porter’s downward header looked to have brushed the hand of Stewart on its way down, but again the referee was well positioned to wave away the appeals from the forward. When McFadzean was then fouled by McCarthy and nothing was given, Artell was cautioned for his protests. It was harsh because it certainly looked as though the Crewe full-back had been felled as he tried to reach Gomes’ excellent pass. Not for the first time, it was getting frustrating.
At times, Crewe were asking a lot of Porter and Long to chase balls down but the front two continued to work their socks off to try and get us level in the game.
On 57 minutes, a good move from Wycombe, saw McClearly and Thompson combine and his far post cross was met by the incoming Obita but he couldn’t get his effort under the bar enough.
On 62 minutes, Crewe survived conceding a second goal. Wycombe had three bites at it as well, hitting the post through Thompson and then seeing Jaaskelainen making another terrific block to deny Vokes in the follow-up. The Alex goalkeeper was up again to throw himself in front of another effort from Hanlon. It was great defending to keep us in the game.
Two minutes later, a Gomes mis-hit cross so nearly caught out Stockdale but he again showed great concentration and agility to somehow tip it over. With the one goal in it, Crewe were very much in it and the game was beginning to really open up.
With 23 minutes remaining, Artell made a double change with Lowery and Mandron on for Murphy and Porter. It was Lowery’s first league minutes of the season.
Thompson also made way for Dominic Gape for the home side. On 71 minutes, Offord was booked for a foul on McCleary. The Wycombe playmaker was unable to continue after what looked like an arm or wrist injury and he had to be replaced by Sullay Kaikai.
With 13 minutes left, Lowery marked his return with a superb equaliser. Robertson and Gomes did brilliantly in the initial build-up to find Lowery some 35 yards from goal. The midfielder rolled Mandron in on the edge of the box and played a clever exchange of passes. His first shot was blocked by Ramsdale but he kept his composure to slide in the rebound. It was a terrific moment and Lowery celebrated with the Crewe fans behind that goal and with his delighted team-mates.
As we entered the final 10 minutes, Kashket replaced Long to face his former team and Akinfenwa came on for Vokes.
From a corner, the towering Tafazolli rose highest to head onto the top of the netting. Moments later, Hanlan rolled away to race clear but he dragged his finish wide of the far post.
Tafazolli then defended well to get ahead of Mandron before Adebisi shot over. Kashket also shot straight at Stockdale after Mandron had regained possession.
The crosses and corners continued to come with increased regularity but the Alex put bodies on the line and showed that real resilience to protect our goal but deep, deep into injury time Ryan Tafazolli stuck again to leave us absolutely crestfallen.