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Kick off 15:00 (UK)

01 January 2020 Venue Alexandra Stadium Attendance

Kick off 15:00 (UK)

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English Football League - League Two

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Match Previews

MATCH PREVIEW: United kick off the New Year in Crewe

The Blues first-foot at Gresty Road

30 December 2019

The Cumbrians kick of their 2020 fixtures with the relatively short trip to Crewe to face the promotion chasing Alex.

David ArtellA solid first half of the season has seen Crewe score goals and pick up vital points, with a tight defence also a feature of their play.

Currently sat in the third automatic promotion place, they head into the Wednesday meeting off the back of a 3-1 home win over Scunthorpe. 

Recent evidence of their ability to bag goals came with five in each of their meetings with Morecambe and Scunthorpe, but a defeat at the hands of Salford and a draw at home to Mansfield Town reminded them that there is still work to do and that nothing can be taken for granted.

Just six league defeats, complemented by 12 victories and five draws, is the reaosn behind the charge for a promotion spot, and with net bulges coming from all over the pitch it looks like boss David Artell has found a good blend of ability and League Two nouse.

The predatory Chris Porter has 10 goals to his name, and Chuma Anene is hot on his heels with seven to his name. Add six from Charlie Kirk and five from Tommy Lowery to that mix, with a sprinkle of assistance from elsewhere, and you get a potent and effective means of attack.

Our October meeting here at Brunton Park saw the visitors race to a two-goal lead before the break. Hallam Hope and Christie Elliott got us right back into it, but Crewe finished strongly with two goals in the last 15 minutes which saw them take the points.

Watch the highlights from that game here:


Always a good game, between two teams who like to play football the right way, it should be another interesting encounter this weekend.


From Chris Beech ...

Chris BeechSpeaking ahead of the game manager Chris Beech said: "We’re going against a proper possession-based team that have unbelievable individual talents.

"They're solid, and we’ve got to break that down somehow.

"They get some magnificent results and they tend to come out of the blocks quickly.

"They’ve got good experience  up front in Porter, great energy and movement in the midfield, and some great lads at the back. We need to look at that and consider how we’re going to play against them effectively and with purpose."

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Did You Know?

+ Crewe’s first cup success actually came in the Welsh Cup, which they won in 1936 and 1937 before being banned from the competition.

+ In 1995, the Railwaymen went 56 games without winning away from home, until a 1-0 win at Southport stopped the rot.


Head to Head

The sides have met regularly over the years – 91 times in total – with United having won 40 of those encounters to Crewe’s 38.

  Carlisle wins Draws Crewe wins
League 36 12 35
FA Cup 2 1 2
Cup 1 0 0
League Cup 1 1 1
Total 40 14 38

We were at Gresty Road twice during the 2018/19 season, with the last meeting between these teams coming in February 2019. Chris Porter got the Alex off to an explosive start with three minutes on the clock, and the afternoon took another downward turn when Jamie Devitt was given his marching orders with just 20 minutes of the game having passed by. Gary Miller bagged a beauty to level things up before the break, but former-Blue Shaun Miller made sure the points stayed at home when he came off the bench to score the winner.

Watch the highlights from that game here: 

We were down in Crewe just a few months earlier for a first round FA Cup meeting. The Blues missed a penalty but won the game in dramatic fashion when keeper Ben Garratt got his bearings wrong as he smashed a poor clearance right at Jamie Devitt in time added on. The shocked stopper could do nothing as the rebound found its way into his bottom corner.

Watch the highlights from that game here:

Our first meeting in 2018/19 was at the end of August, just five games into the campaign. It was a match of ups and downs for the Blues as they played good football, with Hope and Yates going close early in the piece. The down side for the Blues was the loss of Grainger and Fryer to injury, but Ashley Nadesan left everyone smiling when he grabbed the winner and his first goal of the season with 20 minutes left to play.

Watch the highlights from that game here:


Looking back to the 2017/18 season and the away game went the way of the Blues with goals from Danny Grainger [2], Reggie Lambe and Hallam Hope added to by an own goal from former-Carlisle centre back Michael Raynes, which combined to give United a comfortable 5-0 away victory back in the September of that campaign.

Watch the highlights from that game here:

The home game in the January was a much closer affair, with a late strike from Sam Cosgrove the difference between the sides.

Watch the highlights from that game here:


Man in the middle

John BusbyOur referee for this game is Mr John Busby. He has taken charge of 23 games so far this season and has shown 92 yellow cards and five reds.

Now into his fourth season as an EFL official, it's perhaps somewhat surprising that this is just our third game with Mr Busby on the whistle.

We met him at Valley Parade earlier in September 2019 when Bradford ran out as 3-1 winners. Olufela Olomola got our goal but the day was blighted when Jack Bridge was given his marching orders just after the half-hour mark. Jack Iredale and Nathaniel Knight-Percival also went into the notebook.

Prior to that he was with us for the 1-1 away draw at Exeter in March 2018. Dean Moxey put the Grecians ahead just before half time, but Ashley Nadesan pegged them back with a great finish just after the hour mark. Luke Joyce and Gary Liddle had their names taken on the day.

Referee - John Busby
Assistant Referee 1 - Gareth Mellor
Assistant Referee 2 - David Plowright
Fourth Official - Ravel Cheosiaua


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Match Reports

MATCH REPORT: Crewe 4 - 1 United

United kick off 2020 in Crewe

1 January 2020

United went first-footing at Gresty Road as they welcomed in the New Year with an away trip to face high-flying Crewe Alexandra.

United boss Chris Beech went with the eleven who had finished the game at Walsall as his starters, with Loft stepping in for Scougall. 

It was tight through the opening exchanges, with both sides trying to utilise the flanks, and it was a run from Thomas which earned him a free kick on the left wing when he was chopped to the floor. His delivery was excellent, but the red wall stood strong and the inswinger was cleared.

A low delivery from Gethin Jones followed through what was a good spell for the away side, as he and McKirdy harried Adebisi to regain possession. Wintle stepped in to make a clearance, and Crewe went on a break.

Powell was at the spearhead of that, and he cut inside before unleashing a powerful thunderbolt at the top corner. Collin dived high to save it, and the back line did well as Kirk tried to recover it and send it back into the mix.

United had more defending to do when Ainley used trickery to create space on the edge of the area. Hayden blocked the cross and Iredale threw himself in front of Kirk when the forward wound himself up for a follow-up effort.

The hosts took the lead on 17 minutes when Green rode a challenge before clipping a deft cross into the six-yard area. Ainley had matched the run stride for stride and Collin could do nothing as he powered a close-range header into the back of the net.

A lapse of concentration in the Carlisle midfield midway through the half allowed Anene to steal possession before sending Lowery on the overlap. A cut back sat up in front of Ainley but he got his bearings wrong as he dragged a poor effort wide of the upright.

Crewe doubled the lead on 26 minutes when Lowery somehow wound his way from the touchline into a dangerous area. His pass to Ainley was touched beyond the back line to Powell and the nippy winger slotted a rifled shot through the legs of the advancing Adam Collin and into the waiting net.

Alex got themselves a three-goal cushion on 31 minutes when a long ball forward caused problems for the Blues. Daniel Powell bundled his way through to get a vital first touch and he readjusted quickly to smash an unstoppable thunderbolt past the stranded keeper.

Crewe looked confident and Anene made if four for the home side when he rolled his man on the edge of the area, with Ainley once again having provided an assist. The spin from the striker created the space he needed and the top corner bulged as he rattled the ball past the dive from Collin.

The Blues had half a sight of the target on 39 minutes when McKirdy chased down a ball over the top. His delivery bounced up off the surface and it was just too high for Hope as he stretched to try to make it count.

Midfielder Mike Jones was close to threading the eye of a needle in time added on for the first half when he dinked a ball into the box for Hope to get after. Keeper Will Jaaskelainen bided his time before moving across to claim it.

Nathan Thomas tried his luck with a shot from distance at the start of the second period, but it was too close to Jaaskelainen and he was able to gather it up.

Ainley had a volley at the other end from a similar long distance, after a half clearance from a Kirk cross came his way, but Collin was also well-placed to calm things down.

Substitute Jack Bridge got wide to make room for a low cross but it skipped across the face of goal and rolled behind for a goal kick. Mike Jones then brought McKirdy into the equation as a poor clearance came his way, but his shot angled over the bar.

It was much better from United, and Jaaskelainen had to tip a dipper from Thomas over as he tried to find the roof of the net. The Blues stayed forward in numbers as the corner was guided away from the box, and the home stopper was needed again when Sagaf tried to find the bottom corner from over 30-yards away. A firm hand diverted it behind.

The positive second half response got the goal it deserved on 56 minutes when Iredale stunned the crowd with a wonderful finish. He wound his left boot up and let fly and Jaaskelainen could do nothing as it flew past him.

Carlisle looked a completely different and more confident team and a deflection from a Bridge cross was a whisker away from going in as it dropped out of the sky and just over the bar.

Crewe struggled to get out of their own half, as wave after wave of attacks came from the visitors, and a string of corners fowllowed with efforts from Mike Jones and Nathan Thomas charged down before they could trouble the target.

Teenager Taylor Charters came on to make his first appearance for the club with 15 minutes left to play, as he replaced Mo Sagaf, who had failed to shake off a niggle following a tussle with Owen Dale.

Powell blazed over from 30-yards and then from inside the box as the Alex started to get forward more through the closing stages, and Ng put a shot on the run right at Collin as he broke through from deep.

Collin did well to parry a grasscutter from Anene as he saw it late, and Webster had to react quickly to get it to safety before any of the red shirts in the box could get a boot to it.

There was a brief scramble at the other end when Charters squeezed past his man to put the ball in, but the keeper was shielded and he was able to pick it up.

Olomola earned his side a corner when his shot from the edge of the area took a deflection, but Crewe cleared their lines and that was that from what had been a much improved second half display from the away side.



Crewe Alexandra - Ainley (17), Powell (26, 31), Anene (34)

Carlisle United - Iredale (56)



Crewe Alexandra - Dale (72)

Carlisle United - Sagaf (24), Loft (30)



Crewe Alexandra - Jaaskelainen (gk), Ng (c), Wintle, Powell, Kirk (Dale 59), Ainley (Finney 79), Green, Hunt, Lowery, Anene, Adebisi. Subs - Richards (gk), J Jones, Sass-Davies, Johnson, Mbulu.

Carlisle United - Collin (gk)(c), G Jones, Hayden, Webster, Iredale, Thomas, Sagaf (Charters 74), M Jones, McKirdy, Hope (Bridge 46), Loft (Olomola 65). Subs - Gray (gk), Mellish, Birch, Lightfoot.


Match officials

Referee - John Busby
Assistant Referee 1 - Gareth Mellor
Assistant Referee 2 - David Plowright
Fourth Official - Ravel Cheosiaua


Attendance - 4,316 (463 away fans)

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