Match Report - Crewe Alexandra vs Mansfield Town
Two goals from debutant Chris Porter were not enough to give Crewe Alexandra the win in the opening game after having their lead pegged back twice against pre-season promotion favourites Mansfield Town at the Alexandra Stadium yesterday afternoon.
Crewe Alexandra were unchanged from last Sunday`s 3-1 friendly win against a Stoke City XI with new signings Michael Raynes and Brad Walker partnering each other at centre back, fellow new signings Eddie Nolan and Porter at left-back and striker respectively. 2nd year scholar Billy Sass-Davies was on the bench along with Dave Richards, Jordan Bowery, Harry Pickering, Owen Dale, Charlie Kirk and Oliver Finney.
The opening chance of the game came in the opening minute as summer recruit Lee Angol got in behind the Alex defence but his shot was straight at Ben Garratt before Mal Benning`s left-wing cross was headed over the bar by Danny Rose minutes later. Crewe`s first effort at goal came from captain Chris Dagnall in the 13th minute following good work from Callum Ainley before Perry Ng`s left-footed shot from outside the area also found Conrad Logan`s gloves.
Eddie Nolan received the first yellow card of the new season blocking off Jacob Mellis as he tried to get on the end of a 1-2 with Angol narrowly missing the target with the resulting free-kick before Mellis became the first Stag in the book for a late challenge on Tommy Lowery. Crewe took the lead in the final minute of the first period when George Cooper`s deep corner was kept alive by Raynes whose header back into the middle was headed home by Porter. Danny Rose was also booked for a late challenge on Walker.
Into the second half, where Angol again forced Garratt into a diving save to his right before Rose equalised for Mansfield with a header from Benning`s cross in the 54th minute before he almost doubled his tally with a drive that went past the post. Walker became the next player in the book on the hour mark before Porter headed home again, this time from a left-wing cross from Cooper`s right-foot. Mansfield almost equalised straight away but Logan`s straight ball down the middle was just out of the reach of Rose and bounced through to Garratt.
Raynes was booked for rugby-tackling Angol and David Mirfin turned the ball in from 6 yards from the resulting free-kick, an in-swinger from the left foot of Joel Byrom, who minutes later fouled Lowery and received another yellow card. Ainley and Stags right-back Hayden White were both booked before Garratt made a superb save with his legs to deny Paul Anderson with just over 10 minutes on the clock.
Neither team could find a winner as the game drew to a close and a draw was a fair result.
Attendance: 4,933 (1,392 from Mansfield)
Crewe: Garratt; Ng, Raynes, Walker, Nolan; Ainley (Bowery 80), Wintle, Lowery; Dagnall (c), Porter, Cooper
Booked: Nolan, Walker, Raynes, Ainley
Mansfield: Logan; White, Mirfin, Diamond (c), Benning; Atkinson, Mellis (Digby 77), Byrom, Anderson; Angol (Sterling-James 71), Rose (Hamilton 84)
Booked: Mellis, Rose, Byrom, White, Sterling-James