Written by Connor Hughes

The FA Cup gives us drama, excitement, thrills and spills, and this fixture was no different. Here is my reaction to Cheltenham versus Crewe Alexandra. 

The FA Cup First Round, a break from league action and a great occasion for everyone. Football fans across the country inevitably watch the draw religiously every year in eager anticipation to see who their team is going to be put up against.

Now, I have to admit, when the first round draw was made a few weeks ago, I was slightly underwhelmed when ball number 12 met ball number 17. My team Cheltenham against Crewe Alexandra. An all-league 2 fixture which was in my opinion, winnable, however quite displeasing. Nevertheless, I remained positive and anticipated what could be an interesting cup tie.

Cheltenham’s form has been quite inconsistent this season, however in recent games we had performed well and was on an unbeaten streak of 7 matches. Now out of our four home wins all season in all competitions, one of them was a 2-0 victory over Crewe, so I had all the belief possible for a Cheltenham win.

Manager Gary Johnson kept the team unchanged from our previous fixture against Blackpool. We found rhythm early on in the game, we controlled the first half and Crewe weren’t given much sight of goal. We created numerous chances and we were the team in the assendancy, if anyone was going to score, it was surely going to be us.

Seeing Red

Half-an hour went by at a blustery autumn afternoon at Whaddon Road, when on 37 minutes our central midfielder Kyle Storer was sent off for violent conduct. As the song goes, Kyle Storer is magic, but he certainly isn’t when he lashes out at the opposition. Cheltenham now had to finish the first half and play the whole second-half with only ten men, we certianly had our work cut out.

Both teams went into the half-time interval with nothing to separate them but the number of players on the pitch.   Kyle Storer is our vice-captain and his discipline really has a habit of letting us down.

Making a break through…

The teams came back out and yet again we were on the front foot, and had a handful of chances yet we still couldn’t find that elusive goal. The game slowed down in terms of pace, however hard work from our forwards Danny Wright and Billy Waters earned us a corner right in front of the Prestbury Road Terrace. A number of corners in quick succession still resulted in no end product, but as the game went on, frustration built and a foul on a Cheltenham player resulted in a free-kick not too far outside the penalty area. The free-kick was floated in to the box and was headed down by captain Aaron Downes, the ball fell for Rob Dickie who’s shot was saved and could only be parried into the path of Billy Waters who rammed the ball into the bottom left corner. Emphatic celebrations followed Waters goal against his former club, Cheltenham now looked firmly in the driving seat.

Unfortunately regardless of Cheltenham’s goal we allowed Crewe back into the game, they peppered our goal and finally their patience payed off, they got their goal when James Jones poked home on 73 minutes.

Cheltenham had broke under Crewe’s pressure but stayed firm until the end to hold on for a 1-1 draw, ultimately earning a replay at Gresty Road in 10 days time. The 10 men of Cheltenham did us proud, our form has massively up-turned in fortune lately and I believe we can do the business in the replay and get through to the Second Round. We’re ball number 38 on Monday nights draw, watch this space.

Cheltenham and Crewe fans, do you fancy your chances in the replay? Was it a fair result? Let us know in the comments below!

featured image by quisnovus