Young Crewe side rallies to beat Brewers
An injury and suspension-riddled Crewe side managed to cling on at home to Burton on Tuesday night to stay in touch with the playoff places.
Goals from Alex's three midfield players - Danny Shelley, Ashley Westwood and Luke Murphy - were enough to see of the Brewers in a tightly-fought battle in South Cheshire.
Burton started the livelier of the two sides and looked a threat going forward with former Railwayman Calvin Zola proving a handful for make-shift defensive pairing Harry Davis and James Tunnicliffe. But Crewe soon grew into the game as Shaun Miller, back in the starting line-up for the first time since his red card against Crewe, came close on a couple of occasions.
Alex fans didn't have to wait long to see their side take the lead though. On the half hour mark, Danny Shelley controlled neatly inside the opposition penalty area before smashing home a half volley past the despairing Ross Atkins in the Brewers' goal.
The next goal was always going to be crucial and both sides threatened the goal without actually finding the back of the net. A number of hefty challenges by Burton players left marks on Crewe players with tricky forwards Byron Moore and Nick Powell the worst off. Crewe managed to see the half out at 1-0.
Youngster Ollie Turton replaced the injured Moore at half-time and fitted in comfortably to the side without carrying Moore's attacking thread and flair. Barely ten minutes had passed in the second half before Crewe had doubled their lead, Ashley Westwood pouncing on a Danny Shelley pass before blasting into the top corner from just outside the Burton area.
But if there's one thing Alex fans know, it's that their team don't do things the easy way. And just two minutes later, Callum Driver managed to get on the end of an Adam Bolder through ball after Shelley had failed to intercept, before finishing neatly past Steve Phillips.
Crewe suffered a number of scares afterwards, not least from Zola who twisted and turned in the box before shooting wide with only the goalkeeper to beat. It was a great chance to equalise and a miss that the visitors would rue in the 87th minute as Luke Murphy, re-vitalised since his return to the side, showed good strength in the box before hitting a hard and low left-footed effort past the Burton keeper and into the far corner.
Again Crewe seemed insistent on making things as hard as possible as Tunnicliffe showed a lack of strength up against Zola in the 90th minute; the Congolese man driving home from a tight angle. But Crewe managed to hold on for a crucial three points to remain just four points off the playoffs.