Crewe 0, Shrewsbury 0: reinforcements on the way as Alex boss praises youthful 'warriors' for battling point
By Gwyn Griffiths
16th Jan 2022 | Local Sport
DAVE Artell revealed he is "close with one or two" deals as he turns to the transfer window to help dig Crewe out of relegation trouble.
The qualities shown during a battling performance against an in-form Shrewsbury should also help. But with Covid and injuries leaving the bench looking young and inexperienced today, some business in the market will also be essential to help to maintain the recent improvement.
On the potential deals, the Crewe boss said: "We're close with one or two and it would not surprise me if there were three next week. I think we'll be over the line by next Saturday."
Meanwhile, the manager says it its "quite possible" that one or two players not featuring will be offloaded or loaned out. The likes of Donervon Daniels, Terrell Thomas and Madger Gomes have dropped off the first-team radar in recent weeks, while Artell has turned to youth.
The bench was made up of Academy players and keeper Will Jaaskelainen with Josh Lundstram and Tyreece Onyeka recalled from their non-league loan stints.
Crewe were without teenage defender Zac Williams, who has tested positive for Covid, and Scott Robertson, so Mikael Mandron again was deployed at right-wing back while Callum Ainley, one of two changes along with Luke Murphy, was over on the left flank.
Murphy only lasted minutes and hobbled off to be replaced by Regan Griffiths, by which time the Alex had breathed a sigh of relief after Elliott Bennett's corner flew in past Dave Richards via a deflection, only for referee Gavin Ward to adjudge the keeper had been fouled. (4).
Before Chris Long was flagged offside as he shot against Marko Marosi, with Mandron putting the rebound high into the net in vain.
Nathaniel Ogbeta and Bennett tested Richards with well-struck efforts. While at the other end Bennett was brave blocking off a goal-bound effort from Oli Finney.
Shrewsbury were exerting their muscle as the interval approached and Ryan Bowman went close when he flicked Ogbeta's cross into the side netting.
Former Alex striker Dan Udoh brought down a ball and threatened Richard's goal with a shot on the turn which arrowed just past the post.
At the start of the second half, Ainley despatched a volley a yard past Marosi's near post. It was arguably the last real threat from Crewe in a game were they, and Salop too, lacked a touch of quality in the final third.
But defensively, even without Williams, the Alex were strong with Billy Sass-Davies putting in another dominant show to keep Udoh's physical presence in check.
As the game closed Salop had the best chances to win it with a corner swept out to Matthew Pennington who planted a firm header, but the excellent Richards flung himself across and tipped over.
Another visiting defender also triggered alarm with Ethan Ebanks-Landell lifting a far-post header over – but there was little doubt in the end that the draw was the fair result.
Artell declared: "For me our performance was more pleasing than beating Charlton on Wednesday as we had 14 lads who put in a real shift and got us a point.
"We had warriors out there, lads on the bench who were on duty in the FA Youth Cup last night.
"We've got a clean sheet and it's all part of their development, winning second balls and competing like that.
"Shrewsbury had lots of territory in the second half but we limited their threat in the box. It was a team effort and together we made sure we didn't lie down and surrender."
The visitors were extending their unbeaten run to five games, and while boss Steve Cotterill was glad of a fourth consecutive clean sheet he wasn't so happy about his side's cutting edge.
"I think we could have been sharper in the second half. I felt it was a game we should have won as we had enough chances in the second half. Their keeper made a couple of great saves," said Cotterill.
Crewe: Richards; Johnson, Sass-Davies, Offord; Mandron, Lowery, Murphy (Griffiths), Finney, Ainley (Lundstram); Long (Onyeka), Porter. Subs: Jaaskelainen, Lawton, Tabiner, Salisbury.
Shrewsbury:Marosi; Pennington, Ebanks-Landell, Nurse; Bennett, Vela, Leah, Davis, Ogbeta; Udoh, Bowman Subs: Burgoyne, Cosgrove, Pierre, Pyke, Bloxham, Daniels, Janneh.
- Crewe's youngsters exited the FA Youth Cup in agonising circumstances last night (Friday) as hosts Leicester City scored the only goal of the fourth round tie in the 88th minute.