- O’Riordan fires first career goal
- Four games unbeaten in 2023
- Debuts for new boys Finnigan and Amoo
Connor O’Riordan’s first career goal earned a positive point as Crewe Alexandra and Stockport County shared the spoils.
In front of a healthy crowd and under the lights, the homegrown defender volleyed home on the stroke of half time.
Kyle Wootton levelled just after the break, and that’s the way it stayed in an entertaining and full-blooded affair.
That makes it four games unbeaten in 2023 for The Railwaymen, and the display represented a marked improvement on the defeat at Edgeley Park on Boxing Day.
Lee Bell made two changes to the side that drew at Mansfield last time out, with Callum Ainley and Bassala Sambou returned to the starting side.
Lachlan Brook and Tariq Uwakwe dropped to a strong subs bench, which included captain Luke Offord and new signings Ryan Finnigan, David Amoo and James Beadle.
Stockport recalled skipper Paddy Madden, while Chris Hussey replaced Ryan Rydel in their only other change.
The Alex started on the front foot and controlled the opening stages of the game, without creating a clear opportunity.
Dan Agyei and Sambou worked some decent positions out wide but Stockport keeper Ben Hinchliffe was well protected.
The visitors grew into the game and on 27 minutes Callum Camps clipped the outside of the post with an angled drive.
Will Collar headed into the arms of Dave Richards shortly after, while Nevitt drilled just wide at the other end.
On 36 minutes a super ball over the top from O’Riordan set Sambou racing away. The forward cut inside, saw his shot parried by Hinchliffe and Nevitt could only hit the post from a tight angle on the rebound.
Ainley played Agyei through on goal towards the end of the half but the forward dragged his shot wide under pressure.
But there was still time for O’Riordan to break the deadlock, and he showed great composure to guide home after Rod McDonald had flicked on a 44th-minute Regan Griffiths corner.
Stockport levelled within three minutes of the restart when Wootton played a neat give-and-go before finishing clinically past Richards.
It was game on, but from that point clear-cut chances were at a premium. Sambou couldn’t force home at the far post when the ball dropped to him, and Madden was also crowded out when he got a glimpse of goal at the other end.
Both sides gave their all to, with every ball fought keenly for, but neither wanted to risk losing as the clock ticked down.
On 83 minutes Conor Thomas did well on the cover to deny Niall Byrne a sight of goal, while defenders Ryan Johnson and Kelvin Mellor both fired wide from range before the end.
Crewe (4-2-3-1): Richards; Adebisi, McDonald, O’Riordan, Mellor; Griffiths, Thomas; Agyei, Sambou (Amoo 72), Ainley (Finnigan 65); Nevitt.
Subs not used: Beadle, Colkett, Offord, Brook, Uwakwe.
Stockport (3-1-4-2): Hinchliffe; Wright, Byrne, Johnson; Croasdale; Hussey (Rydel 79), Knoyle, Collar, Camps (Hippolyte 79); Wootton, Madden.
Subs not used: Jaros, Evans, Stretton, McDonald, Lewis.
Booked: Rydel, Johnson.
Referee: T Reeves.