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CREWE ALEXANDRA 1 SWINDON TOWN 1: Full-time report
VADAINE Oliver’s stunning strike for Crewe Alexandra cancelled out an equally spectacular goal from Ryan Harley as the two sides drew 1-1 at Gresty Road this afternoon.
After Chuks Aneke missed a 43rd-minute penalty for the hosts before Harley handed Swindon the lead three minutes after the break with a fizzing finish.
Aneke then struck the crossbar as Alex pushed hard for a leveller, which they found with 14 minutes remaining courtesy of substitute Oliver’s effort from range.
Town manager Mark Cooper made three changes to his starting line-up at Gresty Road. Jay McEveley was forced out of the side through injury, with Troy Archibald-Henville returning to take his place, while Jacob Murphy replaced Dany N’Guessan, who dropped to the bench.
After being rested for the 1-1 draw with Crawley Town last Tuesday, Massimo Luongo was restored to the middle of midfield, as Jack Barthram made way.
Town dominated the first half and spurned two good chances to go ahead, as Nathan Thompson shot wide and Michael Smith fired at Alex keeper Ben Garratt when both were played in behind the hosts’ defences, and Swindon should have been punished for their profligacy with two minutes to go until the interval.
Referee Rob Lewis awarded a penalty when Harley blocked a cross with his arm but Aneke skied the resulting spot-kick to send the teams into half-time level.
Swindon capitalised on Aneke’s miss within three minutes of the restart. Nathan Byrne waltzed around half the Crewe team before laying the ball off neatly for Harley, whose crashing drive almost ripped the net off as it flew into Garratt’s top right-hand corner.
Town went on to control the first 25 minutes of the second half but Crewe finally found their feet in the final quarter of the game and battled back.
Tyrell Belford saved well from Aneke before seeing the on-loan Arsenal man’s wonderful 25-yard attempt come back off his crossbar, but he could do nothing about Alex’s equaliser in the 76th minute.
Oliver who’d only come on as a substitute two minutes earlier, latched onto a loose ball 20 yards from goal to fire a dipping half-volley which caught Belford off-guard.
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