GALLERY: Carry On Crewe!
Farce at the Lamex after Alexandra take to the pitch in Boro away kit
Stevenage 1 Crewe Alexandra 1
npower League 2
“Are you Boro in disguise?”
The Stevenage fans missed a trick not belting that particular anthem out across the Lamex Stadium on Saturday because in front of them on the pitch were two Stevenage sides fighting it out for three League points.
Well it looked like two Stevenage sides – there were two Jon Ashtons, two Charlie Griffins, two Scott Lairds – after Crewe had been instructed to play the game in the Boro away shirt complete with the names of Boro players and squad numbers on the back.
It seemed referee James Linington had decided they couldn’t play in their chosen kit, or their second choice, due to a clash of colours.
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Orange and red are too similar, apparently – if only Mr Linington had flashed an orange card instead of a red at Stacy Long midway through the second half then things could have been very different indeed.
Instead Yemi Odubade’s instinctive opener was cancelled out by Ashley Westwood’s terrific strike on 56 minutes and both sides had to settle for a point.
Boro – the real Boro – began the game with three changes from the team which was knocked out of the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy midweek with Long, Griffin and Rob Sinclair in for Peter Winn, Joel Byrom and the injured Chris Beardsley.
There was an early and optimistic shout for a Crewe penalty when Calvin Zola fell in the box challenging with Laird but the referee turned down the appeals, while at the other end Michael Bostwick shot low at Rhys Taylor in the Crewe goal.
Crewe squandered one good free kick opportunity on the edge of the box by playing short and losing the ball while another taken in an identical position by Shaun Miller hit the Boro wall straight on.
Miller shot at Day on 30 minutes before the Boro ‘keeper was tested by Westwood after John Mousinho made a rare error and gave the ball away in his own half.
The had by all accounts been dull and dreary but it then lit up just before the break when Odubade sprung to put Boro ahead.
The striker played a nice one-two with Griffin on the edge of the box before Griffin’s shot was blocked. The ball spun in the air to Long who, on the turn and on the volley, struck his shot from the edge of the box against the post and Odubade was the quickest on the uptake to slot home unmarked into the roof of the net.
Odubade almost turned provider just 60 seconds later. He ran on to a long ball down the right from Sinclair, chased it down and then held it up before teeing up Sinclair in the box whose shot was tipped over the goal by a diving Taylor.
The second half was a much more interesting affair and Boro began well with Odubade shooting just wide and Griffin over the bar in the opening minutes.
The visitors then took the lead when Ashley Westwood hit a terrific strike past Day. The midfielder showed some nice touches on the edge of the box before pushing the ball a yard from him so he could turn his body and strike a sumptuous shot in-off the far post with Day reaching into thin air.
Sixty seconds later Bostwick shot inches wide in what was fast becoming a mouth-watering half and Miller headed wide for Crewe pushed for a second goal, but then Long was given his marching orders when he received a second yellow card just 15 minutes after being cautioned the first time for a foul on Westwood.
Boro were furious and their fury intensified moments later when Laird was caught late by Miller.
The Crewe striker then left the field himself, but not at the behest of the referee who had only shown him a yellow card but on the demand of his manager who decided it was best to substitute him. He was, as expected, roundly booed.
Sensing victory Crewe had the better of the next 10 minutes but Day was more than a match for what came his way.
Boro, too, had efforts at goal but the game had lost its fizz and a host of yellow cards – four in the final 10 minutes – saw a match which had all the promise of an epic finish on a low ebb.
Boro (4-4-2): Day 7, Henry 7, Laird 6, Roberts 6, Ashton 7, Bostwick 6, Mousinho 6 (Vincenti, 84), Sinclair 6 (Wilson, 75), Long 5, Griffin 7 (Byrom, 90), Odubade 6. Subs: Bayes, Charles, Boylan, Sills.
Crewe (4-3-3): Taylor 6, Blanchett 6, Mitchel-King 6, Artell 6, Ada 7, Murphy 6, Westwood 6, Bell 7, Donaldson 6, Miller 7 (Powell 7, 66), Zola 6 (Moore, 76). Subs: Fogler, Grant, Shelley, Leitch-Smith, Dugdale.
Referee: James Linington (Isle of Wight)
Attendance: 3,181 (417 away)
* For match photos, click on the link in the top right of the page.