Crewe made it three unbeaten away from home, and three away draws in a row, as they held Swindon Town to a rather drab 1-1 draw.
Steve Holland made a few surprise changes to the side that lost 2-0 to Leyton Orient. Chris Dickson was dropped to the bench in favour of Shaun Miller, whilst Eugen Bopp was completely dropped from the 16 following last week’s disagreement. Stuart Tomlinson was also dropped from the bench as Holland risked it with no substitute keeper, instead giving Mat Bailey and Nick Farquharson a chance.
The first twenty minutes were poor for Crewe. Schumacher, Cox and Woodards all struggled to find each other as passes went astray. Attacks broke down quickly and despite an early corner had nothing to offer.
Swindon, meanwhile, threatened with two tricky wingers, giving Billy and Woodards a busy time. In terms of chances though, Swindon weren’t offering much. That was until they got the break through. A cross to the far post saw Swindon’s Mackay and Tom Pope challenge for the ball. What looked to be a clear push on Pope was ignored by the referee, and when most players on the pitch were expecting the whistle to go, Pook picked up the loose ball and fired it past Ben Williams.
It was a minor wake up call as the Alex slowly got their act together. Whilst there was still no crisp, attacking football, at least the midfield were passing around comfortably.
As Swindon looked comfortable at the back, 3 minutes before half time Steven Schumacher finally gave them something to worry about with a terrific goal. A 40 yard pass from Gary Roberts on the half way line found Schumacher running into the box, and without letting the ball touch the floor Schuey fired a right foot volley past the Swindon ‘keeper.
The second half saw a brighter Crewe side, with the attack actually resembling a attack. It also took a turn for the better when loanee Chris Dickson was brought on in place of Shaun Miller.
Dickson, who’s been unimpressive in his two starts for the club, showed some good touches and runs. He even forced the keeper to turn his 20 yard low shot round the post late on. He certainly gave you confidence that maybe he and Barnard could prove to be the much needed revamped strike force.
Swindon, meanwhile, had their chances and spurned their chances. High, wide, and out of the ground could describe most of their shots from in and around the area when, at times, they looked destined to score.
The game saw it’s best chances in the final few minutes though. Swindon curled as 25 yard shot just round Ben’s left hand post, before Ben was called into action for a similar shot. His full stretched save probably won Crewe the point.
At the other end, Crewe attacked with a bit more creativity but still failed to get the shots on target. A goal looked like it was coming when the ball fell inside the area to 3 Crewe players, but Pope, Dickson and Schumacher got all tangled with the ball and Swindon somehow scrambled it away.
Crewe fans were fairly happy to go away with a point having defended fairly solidly throughout, but, like most teams do, Swindon will probably say they should have beaten us.
Ben Williams – 7/10
Showed willingness to come for crosses, and although he dropped one or two he recovered and is showing good improvement. Made a fantastic point winning save at the end.
Billy Jones – 6/10
Had a tricky time with the Swindon winger but coped ok. Was helped by Gary Roberts a lot.
Julien Baudet – 7/10
You couldn’t put him, or O’Donnell, at fault for much. Did their jobs well enough but there’s always room for improvement.
Danny O’Donnell 7/10
As above, very commanding in the air.
Danny Woodards – 6/10
Got caught napping once or twice by a lively Sturrock. Switched off a bit for their goal.
Gary Roberts – 7/10
Energetic and commanding as usual. He’s set himself a high standard this past month and doesn’t look like he’s about to stop.
Neil Cox – 8/10
Got stuck in and broke down Swindon attacks. Pumped balls forward and is a bit of an unsung hero. Looks awkward on the ball but truth is he rarely makes a mistake.
Steven Schumacher – 7/10
Fantastic volley from Schuey for the goal, but overall performance was a bit hit and miss. Could do with a few more goals like that though!
Ryan Lowe – 8/10
For me showed everything we need from our midfielders. He provided plenty for Pope, Miller and Dickson to feed on.
Tom Pope – 6/10
Another average game from Pope. He’s not playing badly but just isn’t quite there yet. The attacking flow stops with him when he should be laying it off to Miller or Dickson, and he fails to spot the obvious runs. Potential is there but still needs time.
Shaun Miller – 6/10
Ran and ran all day long and saw a lot of the ball, but never in front of the area. Like Pope, in time he could be quality.
Chris Dickson – 7/10
After a few poor games, Dicko showed some good touches. He took players on and beat them, had a good chance or two and proved he could be a real handful if he wanted to be. Nearly scored at the end of the match.
Swindon created a number of chances in the first half but I thought we defended our box a lot better in the second half. They started floating the ball forward up to Peacock and he was very dominant in the air for them. I think their best chance fell to Christian Roberts in the second half but he couldn’t keep it down. We didn’t create too many chances ourselves and we know we have to improve on that.