Steve Davis praises Crewe rearguard for not wilting versus physical Mansfield

Steve Davis praises Crewe rearguard for not wilting versus physical Mansfield

Steve Davis heaped praise on Crewe's rearguard for not wilting again as the Railwaymen fought back for a point against a physical Mansfield side.

After suffering a 5-1 hammering at Wycombe four days ago, the Cheshire side were much improved at the back. But they had to come from behind after Pat Hoban exploited set-piece weaknesses to head home Kevan Hurst's cross in the 51st minute.

But veteran striker Chris Dagnall swiftly cancelled out the advantage five minutes later when he turned Zoumana Bakayogo's cross home for his 100th league goal.

Crewe boss Davis said: "After losing in the week it was important we didn't lose. I want to avoid back-to-back defeats this season.

"The back four did well - our line was too high at Wycombe and they didn't get their timing tight, but they did well today.

"It was a point we worked hard for and I thought it was a fair result. They were set up to stop us playing and they got a rewarded at a set play. But we showed some character and we had a chance to win it when Dan Udoh went through - but he needed to show more composure and quality there.

"They were a big, physical side and it was a tough game for us.

"We haven't got the option of having a big player up there so we can adapt to how teams are playing against us."

Crewe were ruffled up by Hoban and allowed Danny Rose to come close to finding the bottom corner with a diving header in the first half.

Stags keeper Scott Shearer did well to thwart Dagnall and Ryan Lowe.

But Mansfield's physicality paid off when Crewe switched off at a corner and Hoban broke free to plant a header home.

The hardworking Dagnall soon restored parity and while both sides pressed for a winner, they lacked the quality to take one.

Shearer pushed away a set-piece header from George Ray before fellow Crewe sub Udoh had a rush of blood to the head when he was played in but thrashed a first-time effort into the side netting.

Boss Adam Murray was delighted with Mansfield's second point on their travels in a week.

But he said: "It's our home form that I want to nail, our away form is not a problem.

"We're pleased with the point and there were some good individual performances out there. We've lost three games in 11 but we need to turn the draws into wins.

"We came here to try and play in a certain way - we had to make the game a bit ugly. Pat Hoban has added a different dimension for us and we're spending more time in the final third and playing a lot longer. He has been fantastic for us.

"To come away from home twice and get two good points makes me happy, although I am frustrated as we've been ahead in both games."

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