Crewe Alexandra 1
Carlisle United 1
Christmas time, a time to see family, but as traditional as it is to have Turkey on Christmas Day, Boxing Day football is high up on the list of things to do in December.
For me this year, a trip to my local Indian and a curry awaited yesterday so I wasn’t going to throw all traditions onto the fire and miss a game today.
With everything going on in the national press regarding the child sex abuse investigations it is difficult time for anyone involved with Crewe Alexandra and many other clubs which have become embroiled in various inquiries.
Despite all this, I was very excited to be spending the day with my old man and go to the game. Let the football do the talking with this current squad.
Crewe ended their run of three straight defeats to come from behind and draw 1-1 with high flying Carlisle United.
Former Alexandra striker Shaun Miller opened the scoring for the visitors but George Cooper’s sweet free kick levelled the scores to share the Christmas spoils.
Ben Garratt was kept busy in the early minutes of the game when he had to save efforts from Miller and Jason Kennedy.
Crewe looked deadly on the break and they nearly took the lead when Chris Dagnall ran from inside his own half before sliding the ball to the supporting Billy Bingham who fired a rocket straight at Mark Gillespie who could only block the ball away.
Moments later Crewe attacked in numbers again and Charlie Kirk’s lofted pass sent Cooper away on the left and he fizzed a shot across goal which went just wide of the post.
Steve Davis’ men were dealing well with Carlisle’s long ball tactics and they nearly opened the scoring through Dagnall who did well to connect with the ball with a diving header but he glanced the effort just wide.
On 37 minutes and against the run of play, Miller put the visitors ahead when he beat the offside trap to control the ball over the top from Luke Joyce before sliding the ball into the bottom corner past Garratt. The Crewe academy graduate was clearly pleased to score against his former side as he sprinted the length of the pitch to celebrate with his new set of fans before picking up a booking for his overexcitement, a soft booking in the context.
United could have scored a second minutes later when Reggie Lambe crossed in for Charlie Wyke who fired a header at goal but Garratt did well to tip over the bar.
As it looked like Carlisle would take the lead into the interval, Crewe managed to pull the scores level on the stroke of half time. George Cooper lined up a free kick from 25 yards and struck it sweetly around the wall and low into the corner just out of reach of the diving Gillespie.
Crewe went searching for the winner in the second half and Carlisle stayed strong at the back to cling on to their point on the road.
There was plenty of goalmouth action for the home side as Alex Kiwomya and Dagnall both had efforts blocked from Cooper’s set piece.
Keith Curle made a double change for the away side as Miller and Lambe made way for Jabo Ibehre and Kevin Wright.
Gillespie then made a great save to deny James Jones when Kirk teed up his team mate on the edge of the box and his sliced shot went close to creeping in, only for Gillespie to parry away at full stretch.
As Crewe flooded into the box the referee missed a clear handball from Tom Miller that would have been a great chance to take the lead, however with fans and players in disarray, United managed to clear their lines with an all to familiar punt up field.
The point dropped Carlisle to third and maintained Crewe’s position in 16th heading into the final games of 2016 against Notts County and Accrington Stanley.
2016/17 Games: 71
2016/17 Grounds: 51
Total Grounds Visited: 143 (37)