Cambridge, Cheltenham, Yeovil, Mansfield. Four matches, four wins. Rovers headed to Crewe hoping to make it five successive wins for the first time since 2006. Trips to Gresty Road are never simple for Rovers, as exemplified last season when the fixture left relegation as a dead cert.
Supporting Marko Marosi in goal, Rovers lined up with a back-four of debutant Frazer Richardson, Joe Wright, Andy Butler, and Cedric Evina. James Coppinger, on his 499th appearance, formed the midfield alongside Tommy Rowe, Matty Blair and Jordan Houghton. John Marquis and Andy Williams again partnered each other up-front.
The game was an open affair to begin with, as both teams threatened. However, Crewe took the lead after Chris Dagnall’s cross fell to Ryan Lowe. Although Rovers reacted well to going a goal down, they failed to find an equaliser before half-time, with Marquis and Coppinger both firing wide.
Rovers pushed for an equaliser after the break, forcing Alexandra keeper Ben Garratt into some superb saves. In a roll of the dice, Rovers switched to a back-three as Darren Ferguson brought on Harry Middleton and Riccardo Calder. Rovers equalised when Rowe slotted in a penalty after Harry Davis’ shirt-pull. However, parity was short-lived as James Jones gave Crewe the lead once more and there was too little time remaining to find another equaliser.
The 2-1 defeat left Rovers in 6th place. On another day, the performance could have resulted in a comprehensive victory, but today it was denied by a quality goalkeeping performance.
by Kieran Smith