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Blues U21s 1 Crewe U21s 1

Posted: Mon 04 Mar 2013
Author: Andy Walker

Midfielder Ravel Morrison

Image by: Roy Smiljanic

Blues U21s were held to a draw by their Crewe Alexandra counterparts at Wast Hills.

The hosts were much the better side in the first-half of this Professional Development League 2 North fixture but Crewe recovered after the break to take a point.

Ravel Morrison had fired Blues U21s into the lead in style in the 24th minute with a well-taken solo goal but ex-West Bromwich Albion striker Nathan Ellington grabbed an equaliser in the 64th minute.

Crewe could have won the match with virtually the last kick of the game but Nick Townsend was on hand to brilliantly tip Jamie Maclaren's late strike on to his post and out to safety.

Keith Fahey gained competitive action for the first time following a spell of compassionate leave by playing the duration, while Darren Ambrose continued his return to fitness with 90 minutes.

Only the performance of Alan Martin between the sticks for Crewe ensured that Blues didn't head into the break with a much greater lead.

Koby Arthur set the tone for Blues by flashing a dangerous low drive across the face of the Crewe goal with seven minutes on the clock. Ambrose then tried his luck from the edge of the left side of the area only to see his effort bounce just wide of the far post.

Crewe had half chances - Andy White teed up Max Clayton for a low drive from 18 yards while Ellington flicked a snap shot wide of the mark - but Blues soon took a deserved lead.

Morrison picked the ball up on the halfway line, beared down on goal and chose to ignore options around him to rifle home a stinging left foot shot into the top right corner.

The hosts should have gone on to extend that lead only to be continually thwarted by Martin. The 'keeper denied Arthur and Morrison in quick succession, before Callum Thomson sent a third attempt just wide, on the half-an-hour mark. Fahey's Matthew Le Tissier-esque dipping volley from distance then had Martin at full stretch.

Ghanaian Arthur, a livewire down the right, again went close twice before the interval but failed to find a way through.

Crewe regrouped after the break and battled their way back into the match. Nineteen minutes in, Ellington raced through to flick his shot from 18 yards around the onrushing Townsend and the back-peddling Emmitt Delfouneso could do little to clear.

The visitors thought they had taken the lead within the space of two minutes only for Maclaren to have his goal ruled out for offside. At the other end, Morrison's powerful shot from six yards was blocked out by Kelvin Mellor.

Good work from Fahey down the left almost handed Reece Hales a winner in the 76th minute but Martin did enough to keep the scuffed effort out. Marcel Henry-Francis had replaced Morrison in the 72nd and within the space of 10 minutes he raced on to a long ball, had only Martin to beat but the Crewe goalie came out on top.

However the best save of the match came at the other end of the pitch with just seconds remaining. A ball from the right found Maclaren ready to wheel away in celebration at the far post only for Townsend to ensure that the points were shared.

Blues U21s: Nick Townsend (C); Ryan Higgins, Emmitt Delfouneso (Jack Deaman 72), Callum Thomson, Amari Bell; Keith Fahey, Ravel Morrison (Marcel Henry-Francis 72), Ollie Lee; Koby Arthur (Charlee Adams 79), Reece Hales, Darren Ambrose.
Subs not used: Callum Preston, James Fry.

Crewe Alexandra U21s: Alan Martin, Kelvin Mellor, Andy White, Liam Nolan, Adam Dugdale, George Ray, Reece Hands (Billy Waters 78), Oliver Turton, Nathan Ellington, Max Clayton (Jamie Maclaren 58), Ryan Colclough.
Subs not used: Joe Gorman, Toby Appleton.