Fleetwood Town 0 Crewe Alexandra 2: Back-to-back defeats after costly penalty miss

Kyle Vassell’s first-half penalty miss proved costly for Fleetwood as they slid to defeat at the hands of  Crewe, who leapfrogged Town in the League One table.

Tuesday, 20th April 2021, 10:05 pm
Updated Tuesday, 20th April 2021, 10:06 pm

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The home side created a number of decent opportunities at Highbury, but the Alex’s first goals in four League One games secured them the victory they probably deserved.

It’s now back-to-back defeats for Town, who have slipped a place to 15th with four games to play.

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Fleetwood's Kyle Vassell is stopped in his trackes by Crewe keeper Will Jaaskelainen

Fleetwood had impressed in being edged out 2-1 at promotion-bound Hull City on Saturday, so it was little surprise before the game to hear that manager Simon Grayson made just the single enforced change to his starting XI.

Wes Burns had limped out of the KCOM Stadium clash at the weekend, so his place went to young wide-man Ryan Rydel.

It was a similar tale for Grayson’s opposite number David Artell, who was also forced into a change after Omar Beckles was red-carded in the weekend defeat at Wigan Athletic.

His place at the heart of the Crewe defence went to Olly Lancashire.

The hosts ought to have struck with just over 30 seconds on the clock.

A hopeful ball forward fell invitingly for Kyle Vassell, and as he knocked it sideways to Barrie McKay, his strike partner fumbled an effort just 10 yards from goal.

Town certainly looked sharp and focused in the early stages for this game between a couple of teams with little more than pride to play for as the season’s end draws ever closer.

Grayson’s men threatened again in the 16th minute, when defender James Hill rose high to meet McKay’s diagonal pass only to see his goal-bound header blocked close to the line by Luke Offord.

There had already been a scare for Town as Chris Porter missed from close range before Crewe went in front after 24 minutes.

Owen Dale side-footed comfortably past Alex Cairns after being teed up by the sliding Luke Murphy.

Town fluffed a gilt-edged opportunity to level three minutes later, when Vassell’s spot-kick was saved superbly by Will Jaaskelainen after early Crewe sub Donervon Daniels had clumsily tripped Callum Camps.

Vassell came closest to a leveller before the interval. His thumping header from Janoi Donacien’s whipped-in was brilliantly turned behind by Jaaskelainen.

The Alex created the first decent opening of the second period.

Daniels elevated himself well to meet fellow sub Anthony Evans’ corner but headed woefully over the top.

At the other end, Town were denied again by Jaaskelainen as the keeper dived low to keep out McKay’s well-struck free-kick.

As the hour mark passed this game was far from over, but maybe it was time for Grayson to look towards the bench for a little inspiration.

He did make a double change but it was the visitors who were next to go close agan, Mickael Mandron heading just off-target.

It was game over for Town with seven minutes to go, when veteran Chris Porter routinely converted his penalty chance after Callum Connolly had dragged back Evans.

Fleetwood: Cairns, Hill, Connolly, Andrew, Donacien, Batty (Baggley 70), Rossiter (Finley 65), Camps, Rydel (Garner 65), McKay, Vassell; Subs not used: Coleman, Duffy, Saunders, Biggins.

Crewe: Jaaskelainen, Adebisi, Woods (Evans 48), Lancashire, Offord (Daniel 20), Pickering, Lowery, Murphy, Dale, Mandron, Porter; Subs not used: Kirk, Ainley, Richards, Johnson, Walker

Referee: R Joyce

Fleetwood: Cairns, Hill, Connolly, Andrew, Donacien, Batty (Baggley 70), Rossiter (Finley 65), Camps, Rydel (Garner 65), McKay, Vassell; Subs not used: Coleman, Duffy, Saunders, Biggins.

Crewe: Jaaskelainen, Adebisi, Woods (Evans 48), Lancashire, Offord (Daniel 20), Pickering, Lowery, Murphy, Dale, Mandron, Porter; Subs not used: Kirk, Ainley, Richards, Johnson, Walker

Referee: R Joyce

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