Memory Match: Crewe Alexandra 1-2 Blackpool, 1995
Blackpool FC writer Matt Scrafton trawls through the archives to take a look back at the Seasiders' away win at Gresty Road on December 9, 1995.
Blackpool fired a warning across the bows of all their Second Division promotion rivals as they became the first team in nine months to win at Crewe.
A goal in each half from Tony Ellis and Andy Watson earned Pool the double over Dario Gradi’s men, leading skipper Micky Mellon to pronounce afterwards: “we fear no one”.
Pool’s first win at Crewe in 11 years gave them the ideal lift for a testing spell which seems them take on promotion rivals Bradford City, Notts County and Burnley over their next three games.
It was the first victory by a visiting team at Gresty Road since Wrexham won there 3-1 15 matches ago in March.
At this rate, Blackpool fans will be beginning to wish their team could face Crewe every week.
Crewe, for so long bogey opponents for Pool, have this season brought the very best out of Sam Allardyce’s men.
Pool turned on the style to produce what must go down as the best away win by a mile under Allardyce’s management and all credit to everyone in the team for an excellent show.
The travelling 1,000 Pool fans were treated to a gem of a first-half strike from Ellis, which was his first goal in eight games.
Ellis, with his back to goal, passed the ball to Mark Bonner before taking the return in his stride to get the better of defender Lee Unsworth and slam a left-footed drive past Mark Gayle in the Crewe goal.
It was Ellis’s first goal since October 31 and puts him level with fellow leading scores Andy Preece and James Quinn.
Pool then surged into a fully deserved 2-0 lead by the early stages of the second half thanks to Watson’s first senior goal.
A gem of a move in the 54th minute started with a throw-in on the right by Quinn to Ellis, who after an interchange of passes with Quinn set Mellon off on a run into the penalty area.
The skipper timed his cross to perfection and Watson was on hand in the box to rise higher than anyone else and plant a header past the helpless Gayle.
And although Crewe pulled one back through Rob Edwards with more than 20 minutes left to play, it would have been a major injustice if the Seasiders had headed back up the M6 with anything less than maximum points.
“Once the second goal went in there was only going to be one winner,” Mellon told The Gazette at full-time.
Mellon, skipper in the absence of suspended Andy Morrison, played a crucial role in what was Pool’s first win in four league matches and lifted them up two places to fourth.
“That is our third win in a row in all competitions and it gives us a great lift for a tough spell,” said the gritty former West Brom midfielder, who supplied the cross for Watson’s second half winner.
“No matter who the opposition is, we go into every game aiming to win and we fear no-one.
“When we went 2-0 up, there was no doubt for me that we were going to win it.”
Manager Sam Allardyce was delighted with a glittering Pool show in which every member of the team played a vital role.
The win followed success by the same scoreline at home in September, when they turned in their best performance of the season at Bloomfield Road.
“That was a great day but I would rate this show slightly higher because it was on their own ground,” Allardyce said.
“Everybody gave everything they had and we weren’t going to give the advantage away at any cost.
“The fans were brilliant and the win was especially satisfying because we did it despite being without several key players.”
Defender Darren Bradshaw had to pull out of the Crewe match at late notice with a slight strain while Allardyce revealed that loan man Dave Linighan battled on despite suffering concussion in a first-half clash.
Crewe were without Fylde-based skipper Steve Macauley for the first time this season. The former Fleetwood central defender was ruled out with a badly bruised foot.