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24 October 2020 Venue The Keepmoat Stadium Attendance

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English Football League - League One

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Match Previews

PREVIEW | Rovers vs Crewe Alexandra

23 October 2020

Rovers take on Crewe Alexandra at the Keepmoat Stadium this weekend looking to make it three straight victories in Sky Bet League One.

Darren Moore’s side backed up last weekend’s 1-0 win at Portsmouth with a 4-1 hammering of Ipswich Town on Tuesday night. 

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Crewe’s form so far 

After promotion back to the third tier last season, Crewe had something of a slow start to the new campaign with back-to-back defeats at the hands of Charlton Athletic and Hull City. 

They picked up their first win of the season at the end of September, beating MK Dons 2-0 at Gresty Road. The railwaymen then beat Wigan Athletic 3-0, before earning a hard-fought 1-1 draw with Blackpool. Their last outing saw them narrowly beaten at Sunderland on Tuesday. 

 

The man in charge  

Former Crewe defender David Artell was named as the club’s new manager replacing Steve Davis in January 2017.  

The 39-year-old had a tough first couple of seasons at Gresty Road, before guiding the club to promotion last season. Overall, Artell has taken charge of 180 Crewe games so far, winning 72, drawing 32 and losing 76, giving him an overall win percentage of 40%. 

 

Ones to watch 

Daniel Powell 

The 29-year-old joined Crewe in the summer of 2019 after turning down a new deal with Northampton Town. Prior to that, Powell had spent nine seasons with MK Dons, where he came through the youth system. 

The winger has more than 50 EFL goals under his belt, and played a key role in the club’s promotion last season.  

 

Charlie Kirk 

Still only 22, Kirk is a product of the Crewe academy and made his first-team debut for the club back in 2016.  

After being handed the No.10 shirt, Kirk was influential in helping the club win promotion to Sky Bet League One last season, and supplied more assists than anyone else in the division. 

 

Offrande Zanzala 

Zanzala joined the club in the summer after leaving fellow Sky Bet League One side Accrington Stanley. Born in Congo, Zanzala joined Derby County as a youngster, and had loan spells with Stevenage, Chester and Stanley before a permanent move to the Wham Stadium came about. 

He scored eight times for John Coleman’s side last season before his move to Gresty Road. 

 

Last time out 

Goals from Conor Grant, John Marquis and Tommy Rowe sealed a 3-1 victory at the Keepmoat Stadium back in January 2017. James Jones pulled a goal back for Crewe. 

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Match Reports

REPORT | Rovers 1 Crewe Alexandra 2

24 October 2020

Crewe Alexandra inflicted Rovers’ first home defeat of the season after the visitors ran out 2-1 winners at the Keepmoat Stadium.

Moore made one change to the starting XI that thrashed Ipswich 4-1 midweek with Reece James coming in for Cameron John.

Early pressure from Rovers saw them win a corner within 15 seconds but they failed to make their early set piece routine count. 

Most of Crewe’s attacks came from their left flank, with their left back Harry Pickering being the architect.  

The first big chance for the visitors finished with a long-distance drive on goal from Ryan Wintle. His effort was straight at Rovers goalkeeper Joe Bursik who comfortably dealt with the shot.   

That attack spelt an early end to the game for Jon Taylor who picked up an injury while defending. He was replaced by Jason Lokilo who made his first Rovers appearance since the 4-1 victory over Bristol Rovers a month ago.  

Another attack from Crewe finished with Tom Anderson making a sensational goal line block after the shot of Tom Lowrey had already beaten Bursik.  

Then came a succession of threatening set pieces in Rovers’ favour with two corners being snuffed out by David Artell’s side. A free kick quickly followed for Rovers – around 25 yards out of goal – which Ben Whiteman curled past the top left corner of Will Jaaskelainen’s goal. 

Beaming with confidence after bagging his first goal of the season on Tuesday night – Fejiri Okenabirhie held the ball up before twisting past his man to fire wide of goal from the far-right corner of the box.  

Crewe took the lead on the 26th minute, cutting through the Rovers midfield, finishing with Charlie Kirk assertively sliding past Bursik.  

Along came an instant response from Rovers with Sims curling past Jaaskelainen after a superb pass from Madger Gomes. That marked the Southampton loanees first goal for the club. 

The Spanish midfielder Gomes was after more than an assist in the game with his snapshot on goal stopped by the Crewe keeper.  

At the break the score stood at 1-1 with both sides putting in an excellent performance.  

Rovers had the first attempt of the second period when Okenabirhie showed his strength at turning past defenders again – the 24-year-olds resulting shot was weak after a misjudged hit.  

As the half progressed, Rovers went up through the gears with a pass from Whiteman allowed James to have a stab on goal. Unfortunately for the Rovers full back the acute angle it made it an easy save for Jaaskelainen.  

More frustration came Okenabirhie’s way as he was left scratching his head as to how another one of his efforts was narrowly off target.   

On the hour mark Rovers won a corner which resulted in two attempts on goal with Matt Smith hitting on the half volley before it fell to Anderson on the 18-yard line who struck wide and low of the left post.  

Crewe – who had been on the back foot for the first 25 minutes of the second period – retook the lead through a Pickering free-kick after the left-back curled the ball into Bursik’s top right corner.  

It was almost another swift response from Moore’s side as a low ball was swept into the box and was nearly tapped in by Okenabirhie.  

The final attempt of the game came Rovers’ way with Jaaskelainen pulling off an outstanding save after Joe Wright’s close-range header was denied and ensured Crewe held on to all three points.  

In the end it was a harsh defeat for Rovers but they have the chance to quickly turn it around as they head on the road to Plymouth Argyle for their next fixture on October Tuesday 27, followed by hosting rivals Lincoln City the following Saturday. 

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