Charlie Kirk gives the Alex the lead before substitute Aaron Drinnan equalised for the Tractor Boys.
Crewe Alexandra had to share the spoils as they drew 1-1 at home to Ipswich Town, the Alex took the lead before being pegged back to make that their fifth draw in the last seven outings.
Crewe took the lead inside the first 15 minutes of the second half after Ryan Wintle picked up possession in front of the benches, the midfielder surged towards goal before slotting in Charlie Kirk to neatly tuck home.
Ipswich levelled the scores on 75 minutes with substitute, Aaron Drinnan, latching onto the end of an Olly Lancashire defensive error. Lancashire intercepted an Alan Judge cross but, his touch was mis-controlled into the path of Drinnan whose challenge fumbled the ball over the line.
The Alex would’ve been disappointed not to capitalise and take all three points in the final 10 minutes as the Tractor Boys were reduced to ten-men. Town substitute Teddy Bishop saw red for two bookable offences.
After the mid-week antics in Kent, David Artell, made five changes to his side which lost 4-1 away to Gillingham.
Harry Pickering captained the Railwaymen as he returned from his back spasm replacing Rio Adebisi. The experienced Billy Jones returned at right-back in replace of Travis Johnson, as well as Owen Dale also dropping to the substitutes bench as loanee, Stephen Walker, was named in the starting XI.
Veteran striker Chris Porter was named on the bench as the returning Mikael Mandron started up front and Luke Murphy earnt himself a recall to the Alex midfield in replace of Tom Lowery.
Loanee Antony Evans was named on the substitutes bench following his role against the Gills in midweek, whilst Daniel Powell returned to take his place in the squad of 18.
With strong gales in South Cheshire, Ipswich took advantage of the conditions and kicked off on the front foot from the beginning. The Blues were certainly pressuring the Alex goal, requiring Dave Richards to command his area and punch two dangerous crosses out of danger.
The visitors first real testing effort at goal came from Gwion Edwards, as the winger swivelled past his man before letting fly but, Richards was equal to the effort and pushed the attempt away from danger.
The Reds showed their quality on 20 minutes, as a traditional passing move was nearly slotted home by Mandron but for some last ditch defending from Myles Kenlock. The return of Pickering meant that the threatening trio of the skipper, Kirk and Finney could once again combine down the left. From the left by-line, Kirk found Mandron with a pass, but the Frenchman couldn’t convert.
The Tractor Boys had Myles Kenlock to thank as it looked to be a certain goal.
Artell’s side grew into the game and in fact had the ball in the back of the net just after the half hour mark. A corner routine found Murphy 25-yards from goal and with time and space he let fly from range, hitting Mandron on the way through it fell to Kirk who slotted home, but the winger found himself in an offside position.
With the first half providing very few opportunities for either side, the main focus was the bout of bookings towards the end of the half. Kenlock and Freddie Sears for the visitors and Omar Beckles for a cynical trip on Sears.
Half Time: Crewe Alexandra 0 – 0 Ipswich Town
The opening stages of the second half saw Sears and Murphy both take aim at either end, but both defences stood strong to block the efforts.
Seven minutes into the half and Artell made his first change as Dale replaced Walker on the right side of attack.
Soon after and the Alex took the lead just before the hour mark after a surging run from Wintle towards goal. With an option to shoot, the midfielder unselfishly decided to thread Kirk in on goal who coolly placed his shot past Ipswich goalkeeper, Tomas Holy between the sticks.
With the Alex a goal to the good, that quickly prompted Ipswich gaffer Paul Lambert into a double change. James Norwood and Teddy Bishop replaced Freddie Sears and Luke Thomas.
Lambert’s substitute, Norwood, nearly levelled the scores soon after coming on. The striker looked destined to score, but Beckles intervened with a superb far post interception to prevent the 30-year-old from latching on to the cross. An interception worthy of a goal at the opposite end.
Lambert made a third change with 15 minutes left to play, as Aaron Drinnan was introduced replacing Edwards.
And what an impact he had! His second touch since being introduced and he had the visitors back on level terms, as the Irishman managed to force the ball past Richards and across the line.
With 15 minutes remaining, it was anyone’s for the taking but perhaps the Alex should have made amends with the man advantage as Bishop picked up his second caution of the game.
Playing out the final knockings with 10-men it meant that the visitors were happy to come away with a point. To their credit, they defended robustly until the final whistle not allowing any real sight of goal for the Railwaymen.
Antony Evans, Daniel Powell and Chris Porter were all introduced with minutes remaining to offer some fresh hope of perhaps nicking a winner.
Before making way, Finney and Jones both raised their efforts over the bar, and they were the only slight chances that the Alex were given. A fair result for either side as a game of few chances was reflected in the scoreline.
Full Time: Crewe Alexandra 1 – 1 Ipswich Town
Man of the match – Charlie Kirk (between Kirk and Murphy but the winger nicked the MOM with a goal to his name)