Town 1 Crewe Alex 1
Town: Chris Weale, Ryan Woods, Tamika Mkandawire (c), Joe Jacobson, Dave Winfield, Adam Reach, Jon Taylor, Nicky Wroe, Luke Summerfield, Tom Eaves, Gozie Ugwu (Bradshaw, 88)
Subs: Joe Anyon, Darren Jones, John Marsden, Dave McAllister, Cameron Gayle, Dom Smith
Crewe Alexandra: Ben Garratt, Matt Tootle, Kelvin Mellor, Harry Davis, Adam Dugdale (Ellis, 8), Abdul Osman (c), Byron Moore (Inman, 65), Tom Hitchcock (Leitch-Smith, 83), George Evans, Chuks Aneke, Mesca Bangna
Subs not used: Alan Martin, Jon Guthrie, Liam Nolan, Vadaine Oliver
Referee: Brendan Malone
Assistants: Nicholas Gibbons & Ryan Johnson
Fourth Official: Jonathan Hunt
Attendance: 4,801 (835 from Shrewsbury)
Martin Wild reports from Gresty Road
Jon Taylor earned a point for Shrewsbury in a bitty affair at Gresty Road. Town had fallen behind when Tom Hitchcock headed Steve Davis’ side in front and the Railwaymen held a half time lead. But Taylor lashed home a shot early in the second half to secure the draw.
Graham Turner reacted to last week’s poor performance against Walsall by making a number of changes for the derby clash at Crewe. Dave Winfield was preferred to Darren Jones at centre back, and Ryan Woods moved back to right full-back to deputise for Cameron Gayle who was dropped to the bench along with Jones. Nicky Wroe filled the void left by the Woods switch and Taylor came in for the injured Paul Parry.
There was a very early break in play when Luke Summerfield and Adam Dugdale fiercely contested a 50/50 ball just outside the Crewe penalty area. The tackle was clean and full blooded but it was clear from the reaction of the medical teams that the Alex number 6 had sustained a quite serious injury. After a five minute delay, Dugdale left the field on a stretcher to warm applause with Mark Ellis brought on in his place.
After a fairly low-key opening, Crewe went in front with the clock showing 19 minutes. Mesca Bangna stood a ball up to the back post and when it was headed back across the six yard box, Hitchcock had timed his run well and stooped to place his header beyond Chris Weale.
Town were behind and there hadn’t been too much to get excited about in the opposition’s half of the pitch, restricted in the main to a couple of pot shots from outside the box. Crewe, for their part, were looking the better of the two sides although Weale had yet to lay a decent glove on the ball half an hour into the game.
Crewe defended their goal really well when Salop finally got their attacking game together. Twice in as many minutes they put bodies on the line to thwart Wroe’s 25 yarder, and then Ben Garratt spread himself magnificently to deny Taylor a leveller after he had latched onto a clever Summerfield pass. Without question it was Town’s best spell of the game but it had taken them a time or two to finally stamp their mark.
Seven minutes of additional time was indicated – extended by a clash of heads involving Winfield and Chuks Aneke – but the 800 strong away following were to be left frustrated at the halfway stage, with their side a long way from their performance down at Stevenage which had brought a first away win. There was certainly room for improvement.
Half Time: Crewe Alexandra 1 Town 0
Weale had to be alert at the resumption to push away a fierce George Evans strike as Crewe looked to make Shrewsbury’s task even more difficult with barely a minute played.
But Town drew level after 55 minutes with a goal from nothing. Taylor was the man to ram home a bouncing ball after it fell favourably for him when he contested a hopeful punt forward. His very presence caused the last defender to panic and as they both went to the ground, Taylor was up in an instant to find himself with a clear sight of goal. The finish was a good one and so was the celebration - although it brought a yellow card for the number 11, as he’d left his shirt 20 yards away from where he chose to milk the applause of the travelling Salopians.
Byron Moore became the latest casualty when Woods defended the byline only for Moore to tumble into the hoardings behind the goal. The Crewe fans were incensed although goodness knows why as that type of incident happens ten times a game. The referee by the way, chose not to get involved and he had zero cause to do so.
Aneke bent a shot a fraction wide as the home side went in search of a winner and Summerfield was equally close with a dipping shot from the edge of the area. It became end to end and a little frantic as the minutes ebbed away but the sides had to be content with a point apiece in an error-littered encounter.
Full Time: Crewe Alexandra 1 Town 1