The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE ONE - By Richard Gar­nett

REF­EREE Mark Sal­is­bury stole the show at Gresty Road, pro­duc­ing eleven yel­low cards and two reds as Crewe held Swin­don to a goal­less draw.

The Robins’ Jack Stephens and Alan Tate of Crewe both ben­e­fited from an early bath in a game that could hardly be de­scribed as dirty.

Harry Tof­folo forced a bril­liant save out of home debu­tant Paul Rachubka late on to deny Swin­don all three points, but the ref­eree’s bulging note­book was the main talk­ing point.

Swin­don manager Mark Cooper said:“There wasn’t a bad tackle in the game and we’ve seen two peo­ple sent off. He needs to look at him­self be­cause he’s let him­self down.

“The pitch was hor­ri­ble. We just needed one to fall for us in the box but we didn’t get that lit­tle bit of luck.

“We were re­ally com­fort­able un­til we tried to win it with ten men against eleven.

“We tried to attack and then they would catch us on the counter-attack.

“The pleas­ing thing is we didn’t con­cede. It’s a point to­wards what we need and we move on to Tues­day.”

Crewe had a chance early on when Oliver Tur­ton found him­self clean through on goal but the ball wouldn’t set­tle and un­der pres­sure he blasted wide.

Eight min­utes be­fore half-time Michael Smith forced a smart save out of Rachubka as the vis­i­tors sig­nalled their in­tent.

Smith had the ball in the net mo­ments later as Rachubka – who re­placed the in­jured Ben Gar­ratt – could only parry Ben Glad­win’s shot, but a lines­men’s flag saw it chalked off.

Raphael Rossi Branco fol­lowed Nathan Thomp­son into the book for late chal­lenges on Greg Leigh and Mar­cus Haber re­spec­tively, as Crewe looked to ex­ploit the vis­i­tors on the break.

Stephens then joined his team­mates in the ref­eree’s note­book along with Tate, as tem­pers frayed.

Mas­simo Luongo carved him­self an open­ing but could only fire wildly over the bar in a game bereft of clin­i­cal fin­ish­ing.

The frus­tra­tion was even­tu­ally too much for Stephens who id­i­ot­i­cally picked up a sec­ond yel­low and an early bath for blast­ing the ball into the main stand be­fore Tate fol­lowed him down the tun­nel in in­jury time for an­other con­sec­u­tive cau­tion.

Crewe manager Steve Davis said: “All we ever talk about is ref­er­ees.

“I think some­times they come here want­ing to be the cen­tre of at­ten­tion.

“Fans haven’t come here to see play­ers sent off. They’ve come to watch an en­ter­tain­ing game of foot­ball. I didn’t think it war­ranted the amount of bookings he gave. It wasn’t a dirty game.

“I don’t know how it fin­ished 0-0. Both sides had chances and didn’t take them but I thought it was a great game to watch, end-to-end and both teams were fully com­mit­ted. That’s what I want from my team. We stuck to our shape very well.”

PIC­TURES: Me­dia Im­age

SEE­ING RED: Swin­don Town de­fender Jack Stephens, left, is sent off by ref­eree Gra­ham Sal­is­bury

TRACK­ING: Nathan Byrne, left, and Greg Leigh


BKA Crewe

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