DAVIS LAUDS GARRATT SHOW AS STOPPER SALVAGES POINT
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.”
STAR MAN BEN GARRA