Late goals from Nathaniel Mendez-Laing and Conor Hourihane saw Derby County come from two goals down to earn a replay in the FA Cup 1st Round at the Alexandra Stadium after Courtney Baker-Richardson and Elliott Nevitt had seen Crewe Alexandra into a 2-goal lead with goals either side of half-time.
Manager Lee Bell made 4 changes from Tuesday’s 1-0 win at Harrogate Town as Lewis Billington, Ryan Cooney, Conor Thomas and Baker-Richardson came into the team for Joel Tabiner, Zac Williams, Shilow Tracey and Chris Long, all missing out through injury, while the bench would see youngsters Calum Agius, Lewis Nolan and Nathan Robinson – all were involved in Thursday night’s FA Youth Cup win on penalties against Peterborough United.
The game’s opening chance came in the opening minute as a Rio Adebisi cross from the left was just out of the reach of Nevitt before Liverpool loanee Harvey Davies made a double save from Conor Washington and one of his own defenders 8 minutes later. Derby’s next chance would see them beat Davies with a Sonny Bradley header from a Hourihane corner with CBR heading it off the line before Adebisi would have an effort saved by Joe Wildsmith on 26 minutes.
As it looked as though the teams would go in level at the break, the Alex took the lead with 3 minutes left of the first half with CBR volleying in a cross from Adebisi from close range before the lead was doubled 9 minutes after the break with Baker-Richardson playing in Nevitt to fire across Wildsmith into the bottom corner from just inside the area off the inside of the post.
Substitute James Collins would have the ball in the net 11 minutes from time but would be in an offside position to score before the Rams would get one back with a minute of normal time to play as Mendez-Laing’s strike from the edge of the area would go through the hands of Davies. The equaliser would come three minutes into stoppage time as Mendez-Laing picked out Hourihane to curl one in from the edge of the area.
The next couple of games see the Alex host Notts County on Saturday before meeting Derby in the replay at Pride Park in the following midweek (date TBC depending on TV picks) – the winner hosting Bristol Rovers in the second round at the start of next month.
It’s a result that we’d have taken when the team was announced an hour before kick-off but you cannot fault the players for the effort and commitment they showed in the game (even if there’s a massive disappointment of the first goal going in the way it did).
It does feel that the best chance to have advanced has been missed by not holding on but you never know what will happen with a little bit of luck.
5/11/2023 2:45 pm
Referee: Scott Oldham
|Crewe Alexandra||Derby County|
|Baker-Richardson, Nevitt||Mendez-Laing, Hourihane|