Match Report - Blackburn Rovers vs Crewe Alexandra
Crewe Alexandra fought back from 3-0 down after 20 minutes to force a replay against Blackburn Rovers at Ewood Park yesterday afternoon. Goals from Dominic Samuel either side of a Danny Graham strike saw the hosts in front before 2 from Chris Porter and one for former Rover Eddie Nolan gave Crewe a replay, despite having the better of the game following the dismissals of Rekeem Harper and former Crewe loanee Elliott Bennett (who captained for the hosts).
Crewe manager David Artell made 2 changes from last Saturday`s game with Tom Lowery and Jordan Bowery returning to the starting line-up in place of Conor Grant and Nolan. Once again Luke Offord was on the bench alongside Ben Garratt, Zoumana Bakayago, Nolan, Josh Lundstram, Lewis Reilly and Grant.
The opening chance of the game came in the 4th minute with Corry Evans volleying a corner goal-bound which was blocked by Perry Ng before Callum Ainley had the first effort for the visitors a minute later. Graham missed a sitter on 7 minutes before his assist set up Samuel who beat Dave Richards at his near post in the 11th minute.
They extended the lead 4 minutes later as Samuel returned the favour for Graham to score across Richards before the third of the game came on 20 minutes as Graham set-up Samuel for his second and Rovers` third after George Cooper gave the ball away on the edge of the Blackburn area. Crewe got a lifeline back into the game in the 33rd minute as Crewe won a penalty when Harper brought down Porter inside the area with the defender receiving a red card, the veteran forward scoring from the spot.
After changes from both sides as Nolan came on for Brad Walker and a double-change from Rovers which saw Paul Downing and Smallwood coming on for Elliott Ward and Graham as Blackburn moved to a 4-4-1, Harry Pickering hit the bar early in the half after a great run from Cooper before Bennett was sent off for an off-the-ball incident with Perry Ng. Crewe got their second of the game on 60 minutes as Nolan headed home a Cooper corner which was followed by a replica with Porter heading home another Cooper corner to level the score-line.
In the final quarter, Jordan Bowery had a volley cleared off the line moments after Porter was denied a hat-trick by Jayson Leutwiler before the Canadian keeper saved from a Chris Dagnall drive from outside the area with 15 minutes to play. Porter had a chance to complete his hat-trick as he headed an Ainley left-wing cross wide unmarked from the centre of the goal with 10 minutes to play in the final chance of the game.
Crewe travel to Cheltenham Town on Saturday in our next league game with the replay against Blackburn on Tuesday 12th December.
Crewe: Richards; Ng, Walker (Nolan 45), Stubbs, Pickering; Ainley (Reilly 87), Dagnall ©, Lowery, Cooper; Bowery, Porter
Blackburn: Leutwiler; Nyambe, Ward (Downing 45), Wharton, Caddis; Harper, Evans, Bennett; Samuel, Graham (Smallwood 45), Antonsson (Travis 57)