Crewe Alexandra vs Fleetwood Town Match Report

Mikael Mandron bags his ninth goal of the season to earn the Alex a draw.

Crewe Alexandra’s summer signing and leading goal scorer, Mikael Mandron, earned the Alex a point at home to Joey Barton’s, Fleetwood Town. The Frenchman’s goal was somewhat fortunate, as he appeared to be loitering in an offside position as well as controlling Omar Beckles’ knockdown with his hand before sweeping home.

Upon reflection, a draw was probably a fair result for either side after a rather irritable Boxing Day fixture that saw seven yellow cards. The visitors went ahead four minutes after the restart following a defensive mix-up between Beckles and goalkeeper Will Jaaskelainen. A lack of communication between the pair allowed winger, Wesley Burns, to poke the ball into the Alex net. A shambles at the back, with numerous opportunities to clear the ball.

It certainly wasn’t vintage Crewe but after falling behind, it could be a valuable point come the end of the season.

The Reds returned to Gresty Road after taking all three points in their last fixture away at AFC Wimbledon. Although after Cheshire moved into Tier three restrictions on Wednesday, it meant that there were no Crewe fans in attendance.

David Artell was forced into a late change after Olly Lancashire was ruled out after injuring his calf in the warm-up. That meant academy product Travis Johnson received a late call and Luke Offord moved across to centre-half. Eddie Nolan was promoted to the bench, along with Dave Richards and Tom Lowery returning to the eighteen.

A blow for the Railwaymen as Lancashire and Beckles had formed a solid partnership in recent weeks.

Petty fouls and stoppages were the story of the opening exchanges and it was no surprise to see the first caution on 16 minutes. Beckles picked up a rather unfortunate booking after a strong tackle that he appeared to have won the ball fairly.

Moments later, the Cod Army created the first real chance following a deep cross to the far post. Burns met the ball with a looping header to the far post, before rebounding of the post and deflecting behind off Offord for a corner.

A spell of pressure from the visitors created another chance for them to take the lead. Burns was again involved after he was fed in behind the Alex defence, before crossing a dangerous looking ball across the face of goal, but Josh Morris could only put his sliding effort high and wide

The Alex responded well and down the other end, Charlie Kirk saw his effort cleared off the line. Kirk released Oli Finney before he returned the favour and after controlling well, he unleashed his effort into the bottom right corner of the goal, beating goalkeeper, Jayson Leutwiler, but it was only to be cleared off the line by the experienced Charlie Mulgrew.

Owen Dale also went into the referee’s notebook after 23 minutes for an off the ball incident.

Mandron as usual, used his physical presence to hold up play and his neatly threaded pass through to Finney allowed him to drive at goal, but his effort was blocked for a corner.

The game continued to be littered with fouls and Fleetwood’s danger man, Callum Camps went down inside the penalty area. Appeals from the visitors echoed across Gresty Road, as Camps squeezed between Offord and Finney but seemed to throw himself to the ground.

Five minutes from the end of the first half and a whipped freekick from the left by veteran midfielder, Glen Whelan, deflected in off Mandron. Except the assistant on the far side had his flag raised, as Charlie Mulgrew was deemed to interfere with play. The visitors protested in unison and were quite rightly infuriated with the decision.

 Half Time: Crewe Alexandra 0 – 0 Fleetwood Town

From the get-go Crewe looked to be on the front foot. Luke Murphy fed Dale down the right, before he crossed low across the face off goal and the on rushing Finney couldn’t make contact. An opportunity squandered and it really should have been one nil.

The deadlock was finally broken after 49 minutes, following a defensive mix up between Beckles and Jaaskelainen. The Alex didn’t deal with what was a relatively easy ball to defend and Burns took his chance. Beckles tried to jockey the ball for Jaaskelainen to collect though Burns was alert and poked the loose ball home.

On the hour mark, a crunching challenge from Jordan Rossiter on Ryan Wintle resulted in a yellow card for the Trawlermen midfielder. Nobody could have complained if the card was red.

The resultant freekick turned out to be decisive as Pickering’s lofted cross was headed down by Beckles, before being contested for by Callum Connolly and Mandron. The ball deflected into the path of the striker after he appeared to gain an advantage with his hand, despite appeals, the referee didn’t spot the incident and the Frenchmen tucked home for his 9th goal of the season.

The Fishermen players and staff were enraged and had a right to claim a double blow with a suspected offside and handball from the six-foot-three attacker.

Fleetwood had yet another penalty appeal waved away when Burns went down under a challenge from Pickering.

Likewise, that prompted a surge of substitutions. For the visitors, Burns and Morris made way for Paul Coutts and Mark Duffy and Artell introduced Daniel Powell and Tom Lowery for the tiring legs of Dale and Finney.

As both sides wanted a winner, everything was still to play for. The left sided duo of Pickering and Kirk drove the Reds forward and a Pickering cross to the far post only needing a touch from Mandron or Powell.

The decisive chance never really fell to either side and so it was a point shared on a windy afternoon in Cheshire.

Full Time: Crewe Alexandra 1 – 1 Fleetwood Town

 

 

Published by rpountainsport

1st year undergraduate studying Sports Journalism at University of Central Lancashire (UCLAN)

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