Crewe’s visit to Broadhall Way comes of the back of their 1-1 draw against Bury at Gresty Road, whilst last Saturday Stevenage fell 2-1 away at Newport thanks to a 98th minute winner from substitute Semenyo.
Crewe still haven’t hit form yet this season, and because of this currently find themselves 18th in League Two – only four points clear of the relegation places.
From the 12 points Crewe have picked up this season only one of these points have come away from Gresty Road, and that was against relegation contenders Cheltenham. Not only have Crewe only picked up one point away from home this season, but they have also only scored one goal.
The Railwaymen aren’t going to change their luck any time soon if they cant find a way to score goals, the Alex have only scored three goals in their last five games and manager Artell looks content to continue to play a defensive style of Football.
Towards the end of last season Crewe were one of the best attacking outlets in the League, and genuinely looked like they had the ability to put goals past any side. However, last Saturday the Railwaymen fans yet again saw their team settle for a draw against a Bury side who arguably deserved to take all three points back to Manchester.
Despite Crewe taking a 1-0 lead in the first half through this seasons top scorer Charlie Kirk, a goal from Nicky Maynard just 10 minutes after the restart brought Bury back into the game. It took numerous excellent saves from Ben Garratt to keep the score at 1-1 as the Alex decided to sit back and defend the point they had. This sort of mentality is really starting to frustrate Crewe fans, we are not a bottom half league two side who needs to hold on to a point at all costs, we have some quality players and if given the freedom those players will score goals. This ability to score goals was seen in the 6-0 victory over Morecambe and the 3-0 victory over Mansfield, it was clear in these games that the players were given that attacking freedom and the emphasis wasn’t solely put on trying to maintain a clean sheet. If these results prove anything, it’s that sometimes attack is the best from of defence.
It wouldn’t be unfair to suggest that morale is currently low in the Stevenage camp following a 98th minute defeat to 3rd place Newport. That last minute defeat followed an 8-0 loss to Charlton last Tuesday in the Checkatrade Trophy, so its clear that Morale must have taken a bit of a battering. Despite losing their last two games in all competitions, Stevenage still find themselves in the league two playoff places in 7th position so have reason to remain optimistic for the rest of the season.
Stevenage have only suffered defeat once at Broadhall Way in the league so far this season, so its clearly going to be a challenging afternoon for the Railwaymen. Despite Stevenage’s recent form, it’s clear why they’re favourites for this Saturdays clash.
Last Season Crewe ran out undefeated against Stevenage winning 1-0 at Gresty Road thanks to a 90th minute winner from Jordan Bowery and drawing 2-2 in Stevenage. The 2-2 draw at Broadhall Way also featured late Crewe goals, as Perry Ng and Charlie Kirk both netted in the final 10 minutes to rescue the Alex a draw.
Only one point separated the two teams at the end of last season, as Crewe finished 15th on 56 points whilst Stevenage finished 16th with just one point less. Despite the close finish last season, Stevenage have started the season considerably stronger and will hope to continue this start against a Crewe side who simply cant perform on the road.
Predicted XI: 4-3-3
Goalkeeper- Ben Garratt
Garratt essentially won Crewe the point against Bury with a number of outstanding saves in the second half, and without his performances in the last five games Crewe could have quite easily found themselves in the relegation places.
Defence- Nicky Hunt, Perry Ng, George Ray, Harry Pickering
I cant imagine Artell will change his back four from the team who drew 1-1 against Bury for this Saturdays trip to Stevenage. If any change are to take place it will be that of the returning Corey Whelan, who will be available for selection after missing out on the game against Bury due to being called up for international duty.
Midfield- James Jones, Ryan Wintle, Callum Ainley
Despite many Crewe fans wanting to see Tommy Lowery back in Crewe’s starting XI, I again can’t see Artell making any changes to the midfield three from last Saturday
Forwards- Shaun Miller, Jordan Bowery, Charlie Kirk
Despite Lewis Reilly scoring a hat-trick midweek in the Cheshire Senior Cup, I believe that it will be Shaun Miller who will come into Crewe’s front three in place of Chris Porter on Saturday. Miller received an injection in his knee in midweek which should hopefully see him return to full fitness. Charlie Kirk is Crewe’s top scorer this season with four goals whilst Jordan Bowery follows closely behind him on three. If any Front three can find a way to end Crewe’s misfortunes on the road i believe it will be these three.
Prediction- Stevenage 2-1 Crewe
Despite Stevenage losing their last two games in rather demoralising fashion, I expect them to bounce back with a victory against Crewe this Saturday. Despite Crewe’s chances being boosted by a now fully fit Shaun Miller, I still cant see them finding a way to end their poor form on the road this Saturday. If my prediction is correct and Crewe continue to fail to pick up points away from home then Dave Artell could quickly find himself in some hot water.
Photo Credit: Crewe Alexandra