BIG MATCH PREVIEW – ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW
Mansfield Town head for Crewe Alexandra on Saturday for the first time since 2003, hoping to increase the agony the Railwaymen suffered in an unexpected 5-1 derailing at Wycombe Wanderers on Tuesday night.
But the Stags will also be aware they could face a backlash from a quality side who had begun Tuesday night fifth in the table after a single defeat.
Shellshocked boss Steve Davis said afterwards: “I didn’t see that coming at all because of the way we have played this season.
“It was a very disappointing night for us and an off night for us because we have played well this season. I have been their biggest fan of what they have achieved so far and what they have done has been good.
“They have worked hard and I cannot fault their effort but there were no positives from tonight. No one comes away with any credit and we have to move on quickly.”
Stags’ away form has been far better than their home form again this season and a midweek point in a 1-1 draw at bogey side Accrington will have boosted Adam Murray’s side, especially finding the net after a dreadful run of 482 minutes without a goal.
The 2002/03 season, when the sides last met, saw Crewe beat Stags twice in the League, once in the FA Cup and once in the Football League Trophy, and Stags lost them all without scoring.
The League games were lost 2-0 at Crewe and 5-0 at home with a 3-0 defeat at Crewe in the FA Cup and a 4-0 home loss at home in the Trophy.
The last Stags player to net against Crewe was Paul Holland in a 2-1 home defeat back in February 1994.
Click HERE to read a report of Stags’ draw at Accrington
Click HERE to read boss Adam Murray’s thoughts
Click HERE to see video highlights of the Accrington v Stags game
Click HERE to read a report of Crewe’s battering at Wycombe
Click HERE to see video highlights of Crewe’s thumping at Wycombe
STAGS TEAM NEWS
With Jack Thomas not featuring in the reserves in midweek, Stags will not have any of their injured players back available and, providing there are no new knocks, it’s hard to see Adam Murray not keeping the side that did so well in midweek.
That could mean goal ace Matt Green has to sit it out on the bench for a second successive game after being dropped at Accrington.
Thomas, Kyle Howkins and George Taft remain in the treatment room.
POSSIBLE STAGS STARTING XI (4-1-3-2)
Shearer, Benning, Pearce, Collins (C), Bennett, McGuire, Clements, M. Rose, Hurst, D. Rose, Hoban.
CREWE TEAM NEWS
Loan pair Alex Kiwomya (Chelsea, shoulder) and Liam Smith (Newcastle, ankle) are out, while defender Ben Nugent (groin) and striker Callum Saunders (knock) are doubts.
POSSIBLE CREWE STARTING XI (4-4-2)
Probably 4-4-2: Garratt; Turton, Davis, Guthrie, Bakayogo; Ainley, Jones, Hollands, Cooper; Dagnall, Lowe.
KEY BATTLE: RYAN LOWE v KRYSTIAN PEARCE
Striker Ryan Lowe is the new captain and, at 38, is still leading by example.
In addition to his proven goal threat, his work rate alongside Chris Dagnall sets the tone for the team and his guidance is already having a visible effect on many of his younger team-mates.
CREWE ONE TO WATCH: GEORGE COOPER
Winger George Cooper, 19, has been in sparkling form and contributed three goals already.
A homegrown player, he made his debut at 17 and has been in and out of the team since.
But he has hit the ground running this time, starting every match and his creativity and eye for goal is becoming increasingly important to the side.
OPPOSITION MANAGER: STEVE DAVIS
The Alex board have long favoured a stable approach and kept faith with the man who earned them promotion in 2012 after they were relegated earlier this year.
So far that appears to be paying off, as the former Crewe defender has added to his small squad in key areas and is getting results.
Chairman John Bowler promised supporters the manager’s position would be reviewed after the first quarter of the campaign and, at this rate, he will be more than safe as disgruntled supporters are becoming won over.
CREWE SEASON SO FAR
Apart from Tuesday, Crewe will be pleased with their results so far this season. Having won just seven games in a miserable relegation campaign, and retaining a fairly settled squad under the same manager, the challenge was always going to be about building confidence and ‘learning’ to win again.
Just one defeat in League Two and knocking Sheffield United out of the EFL Cup was a more than satisfactory start before Tuesday night’s shocker.
Promotion will be the ultimate ambition but it’ll be a case of one step at a time.
January 1st 2003: Crewe Alexandra 2, Mansfield Town 0
Stags lost a game in which they deserved a draw and also saw striker Iyseden Christie harshly sent off.
On a poor, uneven surface, Stags missed the best chance of the first half when Craig Disley fired a rebound off the crossbar over from six yards.
Christie then missed a sitter after the break and Stags were made to pay as Walton bagged the opener on the hour and Miles added a second six minutes into stoppage time.
Click HERE to read a match report
GROUND AND TICKETS
To reach Gresty Road, leave the M6 at Junction 16 and take the A5020 towards Crewe. Follow this road right into Crewe.
At the roundabout junction with the A534, Nantwich Road, turn left. Gresty Road is down past the Railway Station on the left.
Just before you reach this island on Weston Road, you will see a sign pointing to the right, which displays; ‘Away Supporters On Street Parking’.
This directs you to an industrial estate on the right of the road (you will also see the Volkswagen dealership, L C Charles on the front of it).
It takes about 15 minutes to walk to the ground from here.
Otherwise at the ground behind the Main Stand is a pay and display car park which holds 560 cars and fills up quite quickly on matchdays.
Post Code for SatNav: CW2 6EB.
Stags have been allocated 560 advance tickets for the fixture, as well as seven pairs of tickets for disabled fans and their carers, which are on sale at One Call Stadium until 5pm on Friday.
Prices are Adults £22, Seniors £17, Ages 12-16 £10.50, U11s £6.50, Disabled supporters £17 + free carer.
Tickets are also available on the day from the away ticket office which is situated next to the away turnstiles at Crewe Alexandra.
This will be open from noon and both cash and card payments are accepted.
Furthermore, supporters can also collect their tickets from the away ticket office at the Alexandra Stadium, if they so wish.
Disabled supporters and wheelchair users must pre-purchase tickets from the Stags’ ticket office.
To purchase tickets in advance, supporters can either visit the One Call Stadium ticket office on Quarry Lane or call us on 01623 482 482.
Don’t forget to read the match report at www.chad.co.uk after the game.
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