Date: 17th December 2017 at 2:32am
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A brace from captain Chris Dagnall and a wonderful strike from Callum Ainley gave Crewe Alexandra a much-needed victory against fellow strugglers Crawley Town, whose ill-discipline saw them reduced to 9 men, at the Alexandra Stadium yesterday.

Crewe manager David Artell made one change from Wednesday night`s FA Cup replay against Blackburn as Jordan Bowery replaced Chris Porter up front with the former Colchester man dropping down to the bench with the match-day 18 was the same as in mid-week.

The opening chance of the game came in the opening minute with Crawley left-back Cedric Evina had a 25-yard shot saved easily by Crewe keeper Ben Garratt before Crewe`s first effort came on 5 minutes with George Cooper shooting over from the edge of the area. Crawley captain Jimmy Smith took a shot from well outside the area which was diverted onto the bar by striker Thomas Verheydt.

Crewe could have taken the lead just after the quarter-hour mark as Bowery headed a cross wide before he fired a rushed shot wide following good pressure from Cooper minutes later. The next chance saw Tommy Lowery`s left-footed effort deflected but well saved by Glenn Morris in the visitors` goal. The first moment of controversy came on 34 minutes as Ainley knocked the ball past Morris who brought him down with the stopper only receiving a yellow card.

The opening goal came in the 39th minute as Ainley curled the ball in from a tight angle over Morris before Dagnall added a second on the stroke of half-time, heading home from a Cooper in-swinging free-kick.

After a half-time change that saw Ibrahim Meite come on for Crawley, he almost got on the end of Verheydt`s low cross before Jordan Roberts was booked for a late challenge on Harry Pickering. Smith was sent off for punching Lowery in the back of the neck on the hour-mark. After a superb block from Josh Torwerth to deny Dagnall again, substitute Moussa Sanoh hit the bar from an acute angle before Roberts was sent off for another late challenge (his 8th of the game). Dagnall added a third as he finished from close range after Conor Grant`s shot was parried by Morris.

Crewe host Swindon Town next Saturday in our next league game.

Crewe: Garratt; Ng, Raynes, Nolan, Bakayago; Ainley (Walker 86), Pickering (Grant 83), Lowery, Cooper; Bowery, Dagnall ©

Crawley: Morris; Young, Connolly, Yorwerth, Evina (Sanoh 65); Smith, Payne, Randall; Boldewijn (Meite 46), Verheydt, Roberts