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Match Reports

MATCH REPORT| County held at Crewe Alexandra

12 August 2017

The Exiles picked up another point on the road with a 1-1 draw at Crewe Alexandra.

Frank Nouble gave County the lead on 12 minutes, slotting home after Garratt had made two-point blank saves to originally keep County out.

Perry Ng was dismissed for a second booking on 17 minutes for the home side after fouls on Joss Labadie and Ben White.

The red card didn’t affect the home side, however, as Chris Dagnall levelled the scoring just a minute later.

Mike Flynn elected to make four changes to the side that beat Southend United in the Carabao Cup on Tuesday. That saw the Exiles shift back to the 3-5-2 formation started at Stevenage last weekend. Mark O’Brien returned to the back three, with Robbie Willmott moving to wing-back. Captain Joss Labadie came back into the midfield, with Frank Nouble and Sean Rigg also returning.

Scot Bennett missed out through injury, with David Pipe, Tom Owen-Evans and Lamar Reynolds dropping to the bench.

After naming an unchanged team for their opening two fixtures, Crewe manager David Artell made the solitary one change this time out. That saw Harry Pickering come in for his Alex debut, replacing Callum Ainley on the left side. That also saw a change in formation for the Railwaymen – who reverted to a 4-3-3 system from the previous 4-4-2.

Crewe striker Chris Porter, scorer of three goals already this term, created the opening chance of the game in the 5th minute.

Porter was found in the area from a Pickering delivery but couldn’t direct his header on target.

George Cooper found space in the County area moments later, only for Mark O’Brien to expertly recover and block the shot.

Labadie created the opening County opportunity, but his somewhat speculative effort from all of 45 yards was never going to trouble home goalkeeper Ben Garratt.

The game’s first yellow card was awarded in the 10th minute, to Crewe’s Perry Ng, who stopped Labadie from making an encouraging run down the left-hand side.

Nouble’s deflected effort off Crewe defender Michael Raynes hit the side-netting moments later, before the striker netted the opener from the resulting corner on 12 minutes.  

Dolan swung a delightful cross into the area which Labadie did brilliantly to deflect towards the goal. Garratt did superbly to save, and deny McCoulsky from the follow-up, before Nouble got the goal with the third attempt.

The opener seemed to agitate the home side, and Perry Ng was soon given his marching orders for a second bookable offence after pulling down Ben White in just the 17th minute.

But the red card didn’t seem to deter the home side, as Chris Dagnall equalised just a minute later. George Cooper evaded the challenge of Dan Butler on the edge of the area and drilled a cross low into the area which captain Dagnall converted.

White nearly reinstalled County’s lead on 22 minutes, but saw his header narrowly miss the target from a corner.

Willmott flashed a shot wide on 27 minutes, as the game appeared to be settling down after a tumultuous opening.  

White had another opportunity for County ten minutes later, although he should have done better with his effort that went straight at the goalkeeper from close range.

Cooper again evaded a challenge from Butler moments later, and decided to shoot himself this time, only to see his effort narrowly curl over.

Labadie had a shot saved by Garratt, as two minutes were added on.

And the home side could have had the half-time right at the end of that additional time.

Cooper, looking by far Crewe’s most dangerous threat, drilled another low delivery across the area. It looked too far for Porter in the area, but the striker managed to get an outstretched leg to it, which looked like going in, only for White to block onto the post and out.

That brought an end to an enthralling first half, that neither side really had full control over. In fairness to the home side, they certainly didn’t look like a side with a man disadvantage and were creating just as many chances as the Exiles.

Nouble would have the opening chance of the second-half on 49 minutes, Rigg playing an intricate through ball into the path of Nouble, whose effort was expertly blocked by Raynes.

O’Brien headed straight at the goalkeeper from the resulting corner.

Nouble had another opportunity soon after, but Garratt got down well to turn around for another County corner. Labadie headed just wide.

Rigg had a shot from outside the area blocked by Garrett on 55 minutes, before Flynn elected to make a change up-front, Reynolds replacing McCoulsky.

Joe Day palmed away a Pickering effort in Crewe’s opening chance of the second-half, before O’Brien headed over from a corner at the other end.

Cooper fired over with a speculative effort on 64 minutes, before Dolan came close from a free-kick for County.

Ryan Wintle fired over from a dangerous area for Crewe, after being set-up on the edge of the area by Cooper.

Lamar Reynolds nearly restored the Exiles lead with a quarter-of-an-hour to go, only to see his effort deflected wide of the post.

Both sides made a change at this point, Owen-Evans on for Rigg in the County substitution, with Callum Ainley replacing Dagnall for the home-side.

Day did well to thwart another Cooper charge with nine minutes to go, before Demetriou received a yellow card for County.

Reynolds had another header cleared off the line by a combination of a Crewe defender and the goalkeeper, as the home side brought summer signing Jordan Bowery onto the field.

O’Brien received a yellow card for County, as four additional minutes were indicated.

But no winner could be found as County secured another draw on the road in League 2.

                                       ----------------------------------------------------------------------

County: Day, Butler (Jahraldo 89’), O’Brien, Demetriou, White, Willmott, Dolan, Labadie (C), Rigg (Owen-Evans 74’), Nouble, McCoulsky (Reynolds 56’)

Subs not used: Bittner, Pipe, Foulston, Cole

 

Crewe: Garratt, Ng, Walker, Raynes, Nolan, Cooper (Bowery 84’), Wintle, Pickering, Lowery, Dagnall (C) (Ainley 75’), Porter

Subs not used: Richards, Dale, Kirk, Finney, Sass-Davies

 

Referee: Eddie Ilderton

Attendance: 3,400 (354 County)

Next game for County: Coventry City (AWAY) 19th August


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