CLOUGH IS COUNT­ING THE WEEKS

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE ONE - By Robert Do­man

BUR­TON boss Nigel Clough be­lieves the clock is tick­ing for the chas­ing pack to catch his Al­bion side de­spite the Brew­ers be­ing held to a bat­tling draw at Crewe.

Clough’s league lead­ers re­tained their four-point cush­ion at the League One sum­mit af­ter Lu­cas Akins’ sev­enth goal of the sea­son can­celled out Mar­cus Haber’s opener as the Rail­way­men looked to spring a shock with rel­e­ga­tion loom­ing.

And al­though Clough ad­mit­ted Crewe were good value for a point he says the pres­sure is now on the teams below Bur­ton to knock them off their pro­mo­tion perch.

“I thought that we pressed for a win­ner through­out the se­cond-half but ul­ti­mately we lacked that lit­tle bit of qual­ity in the fi­nal third,” he said.

“Af­ter con­ced­ing early on we got straight back into the game and de­served our equaliser so I was pleased with our re­sponse. I don’t think we could have at­tacked much more than we did.

“It is an­other game ticked off and no­body has made any ground on us.

“The play­ers are dis­ap­pointed but they have been buoyed af­ter learn­ing no­body else im­me­di­ately below us has won and those teams have a game less to catch us now.”

Haber opened the scor­ing in the 14th minute for Crewe. Zoumana Bakayogo’s cross re­bounded into his path af­ter Jon McLaugh­lin pre­vented Shane Cans­dell-Sher­riff from putting it into his own net.

And Brad In­man al­most gave the Rail­way­men a se­cond goal when his ven­omous strike was par­ried by McLaugh­lin just a minute later.

Akins grabbed the lev­eller when he was al­lowed to con­trol Mark Duffy’s ball into the box be­fore slid­ing it un­der Ben Garratt on 35 min­utes.

Tom Hitch­cock threat­ened to put Crewe back in front when he brought a high ball down neatly on the edge of the box be­fore fir­ing over the cross­bar.

In­man saw his ef­fort end in sim­i­lar fash­ion when he took aim on 62 min­utes, while Duffy forced Garratt into ac­tion when he saw his 18yard strike palmed clear of the bot­tom cor­ner.

Crewe sub­sti­tute Char­lie Kirk watched his vol­ley go a whisker wide as the game opened up.

How­ever, a head in­jury to Alex de­fender Jon Guthrie saw him stretchered off on 85 min­utes and nei­ther side could re-gather enough mo­men­tum to snatch the points.

Crewe man­ager Steve Davis said: “It was a good re­sult but in the con­text of what we need at the mo­ment it wasn’t enough.

“We scored a good goal but we made a cul­mi­na­tion of mis­takes lead­ing up to the equaliser.

“Over­all we bat­tled well and there wasn’t much be­tween the two teams al­though I still thought we might get a se­cond goal. “Get­ting a draw against the top team in the divi­sion does give us con­fi­dence, but we have taken the lead in 17 games so far this sea­son and only won six so that tells its own story.”

PIC­TURES: Me­dia Im­age Ltd

ON THE CHARGE: Oliver Tur­ton races for­ward

PARTY TIME: Mar­cus Haber cel­e­brates tap­ping in

STAR MAN ZOUMA

NA BAKAY

OGO Crewe

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