After a disappointing 3-0 loss to Mansfield midweek, Crewe will be looking to get back to winning ways with a trip to Northampton, a side who have won their last two games in the league.
Despite a mini run of four games where the Alex went undefeated, all that hard work was undone after a poor defensive performance against a clinical Mansfield side.
Before this game Crewe had only conceded two goals at home all season and ever since the 6-0 away to loss to Colchester, the Railwaymen have had one of the best defensive records in the league.
However, the back four also always looks to have mistakes in them, and this game practically every mistake that was made was punished by a Mansfield side who are now unbeaten in eight.
Despite the 3-0 loss, Crewe looked promising for long parts of the game and if they were able to take their chances at key points the game would have turned out differently. However, this was one of those games that had the ability to define Crewe’s season, a win here would have seen the Railwaymen only five points of the play-offs and in the top half of the table,unfortunately they just couldn’t take their chances and Mansfield could.
One positive note from this loss is Oliver Finney’s performance from the bench. Jonah had a poor first half and was subsequently substituted on the 55th minute for youngster Finney. Finney looked to offer something else for Crewe, he looked comfortable on the ball and constantly looked to play it forward with accuracy, something which the Alex lacked for the first 45 minutes.
Northampton currently sit 18th in the table, one point and one place lower than the Railwaymen. The Cobblers have picked up nine points from their last four games and after a poor start to the campaign they sacked manager Dean Austin after 10 games, and appointed ex-Carlisle manager Kieth Curle.
Since Curle’s introduction Northampton have only lost one of their six games, drawing two and winning three. The highlight of this good form being the 5-0 thrashing of Macclesfield away from home. During these six games Northampton have also managed to sure up their defence, conceding only four goals, compared to the 17 goals they conceded in their first 10.
Despite Northampton only registering 2 wins this season on home soil, Crewe’s away form is hardly something to boast about. Despite the Alex picking up four points from their last two away games, they have still only managed to register one win on the road this season.
With neither team consistently scoring goals so far this season, with Crewe scoring 16 and Northampton scoring 17, this game will be a battle of the defences. If Crewe can sure up their defence after conceding three goals in midweek then they certainly have a chance to get back to winning ways here, however if the mistakes remain in the Railwaymen’s back four then they could be in for a tough afternoon.
This is the first competitive fixture between the two sides since the 2011/12 season, both games that season finished 1-1. That season is remembered fondly by many Alex fans, as it was the season that saw Crewe promoted to league one via the play-offs thanks to a Nick Powell wonder goal at Wembley.
Predicted Crewe XI:
Corey Whelan, George Ray, Perry Ng, Harry Pickering
Callum Ainley, Ryan Wintle, Oliver Finney, Charlie Kirk
Shaun Miller, Jordan Bowery
I predict only one change from the side that lost 3-0 to Mansfield midweek. James Jones had a poor first half and when he was replaced by Oliver Finney Crewe looked a better side, because of this it would only make sense for Finney to get his first start of the season ahead of Jones.
Northampton 1-1 Crewe
Picture Credit: Crewe Alexandra