David Artell said in his press conference this week that he wanted his Crewe Alexandra side to show their ability to come from behind this season. Likewise, his side certainly repaid him after defeating Swindon Town 4-2.
The Railwaymen trailed 2-0 after goals from former Alex man Anthony Grant and Tyler Smith had given John Sheridan’s side the advantage, but a Daniel Powell goal just before the break meant for an entertaining second half.
A revived Crewe side in the second half, inspired an outstanding footballing display. Daniel Powell, the standout performer was involved in nearly every build up to Crewe’s three second half goals. The Reds could and possibly should have increased the score line, but second half goals from Perry Ng, Tom Lowery and Owen Dale meant it was just the three.
David Artell made two changes from Saturday’s FA Cup defeat to Cheltenham Town. Charlie Kirk and Oli Finney were dropped to the bench, with Owen Dale and Tom Lowery making the starting line-up.
This meant for a positional change for Daniel Powell as he switched to the left wing, meaning he was set with the task to replicate Kirk’s contributions. Meanwhile, the Alex were boosted with the news that Mikael Mandron and Omar Beckles were fit enough to make the substitutes after both returning from muscular tweaks.
Swindon manager, John Sheridan, named former Crewe Alexandra midfielder, Anthony Grant as his captain.
In the opening stages at Gresty Road, skipper Perry Ng shot over from range. Harry Pickering squared the ball along the 18-yard area, only for Ng’s effort to fizz just over the bar.
Crewe, encouraged, progressed down the left allowing Pickering to cross to the centre of the penalty area. Only to be cleared to Tom Lowery who should have released the trigger first time but decided against the idea; his effort was struck tamely at Swindon stopper Matej Kovar.
The first corner came on 19 minutes. Although it looked to be a Crewe goal kick, referee Samuel Barrot pointed to the flag in favour of Swindon.
The resultant corner was cleared at the near post, but the second ball was returned to the right-hand side of the box. A grounded Chris Porter was beaten in the air and former Alex man Anthony Grant controlled the ball well on his chest, before volleying his effort past an unsighted Jaaskelainen.
The lead meant the tables turned and the Robins were looking dangerous in possession.
Tom Broadbent, the makeshift striker who usually finds his position along the back line was in acres of space on the left of the penalty area. A first time cross across the six-yard area could only find an onrushing Tyler Smith, who was just inches away from making it two.
It took 10 minutes before the Railwaymen began to find their feet; a surge of Crewe pressure created a crossing opportunity for Powell on the left. His cross found Luke Murphy, but he could only head wide of the post.
Just as the Alex looked to be getting in the groove to find an equaliser, they were hit with a sucker punch. Midfielder, Jack Payne, ran towards goal spreading the ball wide to Diallang Jaiyesimi in pockets of space. A poor cross deflected off Ng which found Tyler Smith with that decisive touch.
Artell’s men responded immediately and returned to where they left off before that blow. Powell manoeuvred his way past Paul Caddis, slotting in at the front post. A goal that was much needed from the winger, who’s attracted criticism from the Alex supporters of late.
Half time couldn’t come quick enough for the Robins, as Crewe looked to go in level at the break. Nearly an inch perfect forward ball from Lowery looked destined to be headed home by Porter. Though the striker tried to control with his feet and couldn’t adjust his position, as the cross lead to nothing.
Half Time: Crewe Alexandra 1 – 2 Swindon Town
The second half was a total contrast to the first. It was all Crewe. Swindon were stunned and the half turned to a game of lads-v-dads.
Crewe got that much needed equaliser on 54 minutes. Attacking with vengeance, Lowery picked the ball up and squared a cross to the opposite side of the 18-yard area. Ng was there to meet the cross and after placing the ball onto his left foot, he curled his effort into the far corner.
Just over half an hour remaining, Artell and his coaching team looked to the bench in their ambition to take all three points. Likewise, Murphy and Porter were replaced by Oli Finney and Mikael Mandron.
Powell’s pace and power troubled the Swindon backline all evening. Causing the defence problems, he eased past Caddis and struck his effort against the post. Moments later, the frame of the goal was shaking again as Ng picked up a loose ball and lashed his effort against the woodwork.
The Reds looked destined to take the lead at any moment and that third goal came on 63 minutes. Owen Dale crossed to the far post and it was Finney who managed to rise highest and nod down to Powell. His shot was parried but only to the feet of Lowery who smashed into the roof of the net.
It was that man Powell again, but this time he turned provider. A cross field pass to the man himself, allowed him to run towards the goal line and cross to the far post. Managing to pick out Dale who headed into the back of the net.
The Alex were flourishing and should have increased the deficit. A threaded pass by Dale played in Finney 1-on-1 with Kovar but he could only strike against the legs of the Swindon number one.
Kovar also denied Mandron after he managed to turn and find himself in on goal.
If it wasn’t for the Manchester United loanee, Kovar, between the sticks the Alex could have made it five or six.
Back to winning ways and a performance that the Reds should be proud of after three successive defeats.
Full Time: Crewe Alexandra 4 – 2 Swindon Town