The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE ONE - By Josh Ni­cholls

CREWE Alexan­dra man­ager Steve Davis hailed goal­keeper Ben Gar­ratt af­ter the stop­per’s man-of-the-match dis­play was enough to deny a dom­i­nant Port Vale side in a goal­less draw at Gresty Road.

Gar­ratt twice de­nied Louis Dodds as well as Uche Ik­peazu and sub­sti­tute Enoch An­doh as Vale had the bet­ter chances in a scrappy lo­cal derby.

Davis was quick to ad­mit his side, who have now not won on open­ing day since 2007, were sec­ond best through­out but he could not speak highly enough of his num­ber one af­ter­wards.

“When the team doesn’t play well you rely on that man and he was there for us,” said Davis.

“His shot-stop­ping, his catch­ing, the way he is talk- ing now and the con­fi­dence he is now show­ing is what we ex­pect from him.

“They were bet­ter than us, they had the bet­ter of the play

and more chances.We knew it was go­ing to be hard and we’ve come out with a draw which was pos­i­tive.”

Af­ter a scrappy and fre­netic start Vale threat­ened in the 14th minute as ex-Crewe striker Ik­peazu cut the ball back to Dodds who side­footed tamely at Gar­ratt from close range.

Dodds nearly put the Valiants ahead in the 44th minute af­ter re­ceiv­ing Ben Purkiss’ cut­back in­side the box but the for­ward’s low shot was par­ried ex­cel­lently by Gar­ratt.

Ik­peazu had the ball in the Crewe net in the 50th minute af­ter es­cap­ing the chal­lenge of Ben Nu­gent in­side the box, but the lines­man ad­judged the big front man to have run the ball out of play be­fore fir­ing home.

Gar­ratt once again de­nied the visi­tors in the 68th minute af­ter sprightly sub­sti­tute An­doh’s blocked shot fell to Ik­peazu, who saw his side-footed ef­fort com­fort­ably saved.

The home goal­keeper came to his side’s res­cue again two min­utes from time hold­ing on to An­doh’s fiercely struck half-volley from out­side the box.

Vis­it­ing man­ager Robert Page ex­pressed his de­light at his team’s dis­play, which was ad­mit­tedly tem­pered with frus­tra­tion at the re­sult.

“The re­sult was a lit­tle bit un­just,” said Page. “It says a lot when their keeper gets man of the match. We’ve cre- ated half a dozen chances that on another day might go in.

“Not only did we re­tain the ball and keep the ball bet­ter than them, I thought we did the not so nice side of things bet­ter.

“I thought there were some fan­tas­tic de­buts to­day, over­all I’m pleased with the draw, frus­trated it wasn’t a win, but we’ll take a draw and the clean sheet and move on.”


TT Crewe

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