Crewe Alexandra battled to a draw at home to Newport County despite having a man disadvantage for the majority of the game at the Alexandra Stadium.
Crewe Alexandra made one change from their opening 2 games as young defender Harry Pickering came in for his full debut for midfielder Callum Ainley in a reshuffle which saw Eddie Nolan play centre-back and Brad Walker back in his preferred midfield position.
The opening chance of the game came to Newport captain Josh Ladabie on 9 minutes but he screwed his shot horribly wide before Perry Ng was booked for a pull-back on Sean Rigg as the former Port Vale winger had beaten him inside the Newport half. After a dozen minutes, Frank Nouble would first hit the side-netting via a deflection then score from the resulting set-piece after Crewe keeper Ben Garratt saved 2 efforts from loanee Shawn McCoulsky. Ng got a second yellow card minutes later for a mis-timed slide tackle with David Artell making more changes to his shape with Walker, Nolan and Michael Raynes moving into a back 3 and Pickering and George Cooper playing as the wide-midfielders.
The equaliser came on 19 minutes as Cooper got in down the Newport left allowing Chris Dagnall to score from close range before Newport right-back Ben White headed over from a corner. The next chance came on 37 minutes as White was denied by Garratt from close range as a deflection helped the ball into the defender’s path whilst Chris Porter almost gave the hosts the lead on the stroke of half-time with White turning his goal-bound effort onto the post with a superb block.
The second half saw Newport start on the front foot with Nouble getting in behind the Alex defence but he was dispossessed by Walker as he wanted too much time to pick out a shot whilst Garratt produced a double-save to deny Rigg from outside the area and McCoulsky from the follow-up.
With 20 minutes to go, Newport had a free-kick from 25 yards, taken by Matt Dolan, that was well held by Garratt. On 85 minutes, a cross from the Newport left deflected off Raynes and was, again, saved well by Garratt and both teams through everything to get a winner but it wasn’t coming.
Crewe: Garratt; Ng, Raynes, Nolan, Pickering; Walker, Wintle, Lowery; Dagnall (c, Ainley 75), Porter, Cooper (Bowery 86)
Newport: Day; White, O’Brien, Demetriou, Butler (Jahraldo 89); Willmott, Dolan, Ladabie (c), Rigg (Owen-Evans 74); McCoulsky (Reynolds 57), Nouble