Crewe Alex Vault - Memory No. 3
Blackburn Rovers 0 - 1 Crewe Alexandra
In March 2000 Crewe travelled to Ewood Park for a tough looking fixture against a Blackburn team boasting such players as Keith Gillespie, Damien Duff and former Alex favourite Ashley Ward. The game was broadcast live on Sky TV explaining why it was a 1 pm kick-off on a Sunday.
Although not expected to get anything from the game, Crewe had just come off the back of a derby win against rivals Port Vale, with a late Kenny Lunt free kick giving the Alex a 2-1 victory.
Right from kick off Crewe were completely bombarded and struggled to cope with the pace and organisation of an expensively assembled Blackburn team. Rovers attacking power was too much at times and it wasn`t long before Crewe`s Australian keeper Jason Kearton was called into action.
Blackburn continually created good chances but found Kearton at his best and he continually frustrated Ward, Duff and Jansen with some brilliant saves. By half-time Crewe were struggling to get into the game and in all honesty it had become backs to the wall stuff for the Alex rearguard, but they took a clean sheet into the break.
In the second half it was more of the same for Crewe as Blackburn sensed a goal was surely soon to come. Jason Kearton had other ideas though and continued to keep Crewe in the game with a string of fine stops somehow delaying the inevitable, a Blackburn goal.
Crewe were struggling to hold on to a point when in the 80th minute another Blackburn attack set its sights on the Alex goal. A scramble on the Crewe goal line looked like Rovers were finally about to score but some how Kearton scooped the ball off the line and back through his legs. Crewe cleared and this miraculous escape sprung the players into action as they set off on the counter attack. Having committed so many men forward Blackburn were left exposed at the back and as Crewe pushed on with a through ball been played to Colin Cramb on the edge of the Rovers area.
Cramb, who had scored a wonder goal in the previous game against Port Vale, was presented with Crewe`s only real clear cut opportunity of the game. Cramb steadied himself and coolly placed it passed Alan Kelly to send the Crewe fans at Ewood Park and watching live back at home into jubilation.
Crewe managed to hang on for the final ten minutes of the game for a famous victory and although Cramb had finished expertly for the goal, all the plaudits went to Crewe goalkeeper Jason Kearton. Blackburn had found the Aussie keeper in inspired form and in certainly his best game in a Crewe shirt he proved why he is regularly talked of as one of Crewe`s best ever 'keepers.
Crewe ended any real hopes Blackburn had of reaching the play offs and gave themselves a massive boost in terms of trying to avoid relegation.
In front of an attendance of 16,057 and a live television audience Crewe had once again raised the bar of their potential and the profile of the club. It might have been the one that got away for Blackburn but the game will always be remembered by Alex fans as Jason Kearton`s finest hour.
Teams that day:
Blackburn: Kelly, Grayson, Dailly, Broomes, Davidson (Peacock, 52), Gillespie, Frandson, Flitcroft (Dunn, 82), Duff, Jansen, Ward.
Subs Not Used: Ostenstad, Johnson, Miller.
Crewe: Kearton, Wright, Walton, Macauley, Lunt, Rivers, Sorvel, David Wright, Jack, Cramb (Tait, 86), Newby (Street, 82).
Subs Not Used: Foran, Peter Smith, Hulse.
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