Crewe 1, Ipswich 1: Lowery's late screamer puts the brakes on the Tractor Boys
By Gwyn Griffiths
23rd Apr 2022 | Local Sport
ALEX Morris' claims on landing the permanent manager's job have been boosted by three three battling performances.
The latest, a late comeback to grab a deserved point against an Ipswich side courtesy of Tommy Lowery's thumping 86th-minute strike, proved to be a satisfying home finale on what has been a desperately disappointing campaign.
Caretaker boss Morris is pleased with the way his players have not allowed a relegation hangover to shroud the club for there have been plenty of positives emerging from games against AFC Wimbledon and Sheffield Wednesday and, today, against the Tractor Boys.
A summer overhaul lies ahead as Crewe regroup in League Two and while several of those on duty against the East Anglians won't be around come July 30 there was no doubt they and those who will be gave their all to the cause.
"I thought we got what we deserved from the game and we came to life in the last 15 minutes which shows we're durable, resilient and strong mentally which hasn't been the case in the past," said Morris.
"We've seen some really strong performances from players collectively in the last three games.
"We had Ipswich on the ropes at the end. We don't want the season to end and that progress can only get better and better when players are confident.
"When they rediscover their belief good things can happen. The players are buying into everything we are asking from them and they were out on their feet at the end."
There would have been plenty of excuses for a tepid end-of-season affair with Ipswich, winless beforehand in four games, having seen their play-off hopes die.
But the game burst into life at both ends and there could have been more goals.
After Dave Richards thwarted James Norwood, who was through on goal, Ipswich did take the lead when Conor Chaplin squeezed a low finish past the Alex keeper in first-half stoppage time.
Christian Walton preserved Ipswich's lead after the restart when he repelled Mikael Mandron's far-post header.
Mandron may be among those heading for the Alex exit, but if he is then he was going out with a flourish. His enthusiastic efforts earned him the sponsors' man-of-the-match award and he was close to adding to his seven-goal season tally with a goal-bound strike which Town sub Idris El Mizouni threw himself into the path of.
But Ipswich's rearguard was breached in spectacular fashion as Lowery seized on a loose ball and unleashed beyond Walton into the far corner to trigger delirious celebrations at the Gresty Road end on what could the homegrown midfielder's last appearance in front of the home faithful.
While the traditional lap of honour of the pitch was dispensed with there was still an upbeat mood as the Alex fans were saluted by the players at the final whistle, which was followed by an end-of-season awards ceremony.
Leading scorer Chris Long deservedly won the player-of-the-season award as the energetic striker has been Crewe's only consistent threat this season; Lowery took the players' player-of-the-season, an achievement in itself after his early-season exile; Zac Williams, who hobbled off injured late on, won the breakthrough player award; and another among the latest crop of talent at the back, the giant Connor O'Riordan, took the Harold Finch scholar's award.
Luke Murphy's fine volley at Morecambe won the Alex skipper the goal-of-the-season award.
Hopefully, there will be much more to celebrate this time next year. In the meantime the club's interim management team appears to have kick started a machine well versed in the art of losing and most Alex fans will want to look forward in hope rather than back in anger.
Crewe: Richards; Alebiosu (Finney), Offord, Sass-Davies, Williams (Sambou); Uwakwe, Murphy (Griffiths), Lowery, Ainley; Mandron, Long. Subs: Jaaskelainen, O'Riordan, Tabiner, Kashket.
Ipswich: Walton; Donacien, Woolfenden, Burgess; Vincent-Young (El Mizouni), Bakinson, Morsy, Thompson; Chaplin (Bonne); Piggott (Celina), Norwood. Subs: Hayes, Humphreys, Baggott, Chirewa.
* Vastly-experienced scout Glyn Chamberlain has returned to Crewe to take up a key recruitment post.
The Alex confirmed that Chamberlain - who served as chief scout at the club from 2005 to 2009 - will take on the role of recruitment consultant. In recent times the 63-year-old has served as Blackburn's European scout and held scouting roles at Cardiff City and Burnley.
Josh Kennard has secured the head of recruitment job at the end of a process, started under Dave Artell's reign and aimed at improving Crewe's performance in the transfer market after a series of disappointing deals last summer set the tone for the season.
Data specialist Kennard has worked for Millwall and sports management firm World in Motion.