After last weekend’s draw at Cheltenham Town saw 2nd play against 3rd, this Saturday’s game between Crewe Alexandra and Exeter City sees the top two clash at the Alexandra Stadium. That draw was the first for the Alex this season while the Grecians lost their unbeaten record.
So far this season, they have beaten Macclesfield Town, Stevenage, Morecambe, Mansfield Town, Carlisle United and Port Vale, they have drawn Swindon Town, Oldham Athletic, Leyton Orient and Newport County with their defeat coming against Grimsby Town last Saturday. In the cups, they lost to Coventry City in the 1st Round of the EFL Cup while they beat Cheltenham Town in their opening EFL Trophy group game in a group that also contains Newport and West Ham United’s Under-21 team.
Over the summer, Exeter have signed 9 players over the summer, 8 of which are permanent signings and 1 season-long loan while letting 9 leave the club permanently. Arriving at the club are goalkeepers Johnny Maxted and Lewis Ward, defenders Tom Parkes, Gary Warren, Noah Smerdon and loanee Jayden Richardson, midfielder Nigel Atangana and forwards Alex Fisher and former Alex loanee Nicky Ajose.
Looking back in the archives, the two teams have met 48 times with Exeter leading the head-to-head with 20 wins to 16 with 12 draws. Crewe’s biggest win came in a 4-1 victory at St James Park in August 1967 while Exeter’s biggest win came at the same venue with a 4-0 win in February 2017. Exeter have won the last 5 meetings between the sides, including a 1-0 in Exeter and a 2-1 in Crewe last season.
Who are the officials for the game?
The officials for this game see Ross Joyce as the man in the middle where he is assisted by Paul Newhouse and Ian Dudley with Thomas Harty being the fourth official. During the last 5 seasons the following Crewe games have been refereed by Joyce:
- Crewe Alexandra 1-2 Chesterfield (3rd October 2015) – Fox
- Crewe Alexandra 2-0 Rochdale (6th February 2016) – Haber, Inman
- Crewe Alexandra 1-1 Mansfield Town (1st October 2016) – Dagnall
- Accrington Stanley 3-2 Crewe Alexandra (8th April 2017) – Cooke, Dagnall
- Crewe Alexandra 0-5 Carlisle United (23rd September 2017)
I asked Exeter City supporter Rodney Boulton for his thoughts going into the game.
How would you describe your transfer activity this summer?
Impressive. The manager identified the areas that needed strengthening and brought in the players he wanted.
Which position is the one that you should improve the most from the squad you currently have?
I think we’re pretty strong in all areas of the field. At a push maybe up front.
What do you think the team will be for the game?
Pretty much the team that has played in the league so far this season.
Ward; Williams, Sweeney, Aaron Martin, Moxey, Sparkes; Law, Taylor, Collins; Lee Martin and Bowman
How would you set-up to nullify your team?
Keeping the wing-backs Sparkes and Williams quiet and prevent them from making runs would be a start.
Who is the danger man for this game?
Nicky law. Consistently our best player in the team.
What do you think is a realistic aim for City this season?
Promotion is certainly achievable. I believe we’ve got the squad to make the top three.