David Artell happy with point for under-prepared Crewe

Crewe Alexandra v Charlton Athletic – Sky Bet League One – Gresty Road
Crewe Alexandra v Charlton Athletic – Sky Bet League One – Gresty Road - (Copyright PA Wire)
19:19pm, Sat 17 Oct 2020
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Crewe boss Dave Artell felt his players were under-prepared for the visit of Blackpool after a Covid-19 probe shut their training ground.

The Railwaymen’s midweek trip to Oxford was called off for a second time after the visitors said they could not fulfil the fixture.

Officials from Public Health England were called in to examine whether government protocols were being followed and the Alex squad and staff underwent coronavirus testing.

Previously four Crewe players have produced positive tests, but the latest round saw everyone given a clean bill of health.

But it meant Artell’s players lost several days of training and the manager admitted he was happy to settle for a point from a game which was dominated by Blackpool.

Artell said: “You’ve got to give our players a lot of credit with very little preparation and work on the training ground to stick at it and do what they did.

“It is a fairly big mitigating circumstance, it’s not an excuse and we hope it doesn’t happen again. I hope no club has to go through what we’ve had to go through.

“If they do they might come into a game bit short like we did today, but thankfully we’ve got at least a point.”

The Tangerines were the better side as they ended a run of three straight losses.

Despite Blackpool’s dominance Crewe who made their first clear opening count to take a 54th-minute lead with Charlie Kirk picking out Mikael Mandron whose left-footed finish flew past Chris Maxwell for his fifth goal since arriving at Gresty Road this summer.

Blackpool deservedly levelled after 71 minutes through Grant Ward, who seized on a loose ball and unleashed a powerful effort which Will Jaaskelainen had no chance with.

Artell added: “We made a better fist of it in the second half, but we were under prepared and performances weren’t up to much by some. But they stuck it out and they grafted. That was our worst performance and every now again you get one, but if you get a point then you accept that.”

Tangerines manager Neil Critchley said: “We were pretty much the dominant team and we were well in control. We limited Crewe to very little.

“The frustration is we probably didn’t do enough with our play in the final third, although Crewe defended very well and got some blocks and headers in.

“We probably needed just that bit of luck to win it and on the balance of play we probably deserved that.

“Their goal was probably their first shot on goal and in previous games here they’ve created a lot of chances, but we’ve limited to them very little.”

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