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Unlucky Crewe push Newcastle close in thriller with nine goals
3:13pm Thursday 21st February 2013 in Sport
Crewe Vagrants 4
Newcastle University 5
CREWE Vagrants almost crafted a remarkable comeback on Saturday but found an equaliser beyond their reach.
With last week's bitterly disappointing 6-5 away defeat to lowly Preston still fresh in their memories, Crewe welcomed the North League Division One's third placed side knowing that defeat would push them closer to the relegation zone.
Vagrants had a golden chance to stun Newcastle with a short corner inside two minutes, but a failure to convert allowed the visitors to deliver two early hammer blows to end Crewe's hopes of a result.
A reeling Crewe side tried to counter, forcing play into opposition territory, but Newcastle were looking sharp, winning tackles and finding men with fluent, accurate passing.
Chris Regan's 16th minute drive offered Vagrants some hope of a recovery at 2-1, but Newcastle's response of upping the tempo with incisive attacks and possession hockey resulted in a fast break taking them 3-1 clear.
Then came a crucial moment in the game, as a vital goal-line save by Will Hardcastle prevented Newcasle from putting the game to bed and Pete Cornell pounced at the other end to make it 3-2.
Crewe then missed several great chances to level when Cornell powered a shot straight at the keeper and two successive corners went begging, making the visitors’ fourth goal all the more frustrating to concede just before the break.
Eleven minutes into the second half came a lifeline, Nick Marshall meeting Cornell’s cross to touch in at the far post and bring Vagrants back into contention at 4-3.
But despite all their efforts, Crewe's defence once again let them down after a midfield exchange, the goal that was one too far for the hosts to reach.
Watson's shot following a weaving Cornell run dragged them to within one, but try as they might Vagrants could not break down the fierce Newcastle defence.
Crewe were even handed a lifeline when the visitors’ keeper was sent off for dissent, but failed to capitalise.
Crewe can take plenty of heart from their performance, if not the result, but they will likely be in for a tough weekend if they travel to league leaders Ben Rhydding with a similarly porous defence on Saturday.