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Alexandra Stadium
Crewe Alexandra v Wolverhampton Wanderers
Saturday, July 26th, 2014, 3pm
Pre-Season Friendly

  Jack Finch
(Wolves Fan)

1. Why you were looking forward to going to the ground (or not as the case may be):

It was my first opportunity to go and see Wolves since the end of last season, and at a very reasonable £8 a ticket, it promised to be a fairly cheap away day.

2. How easy was your journey/finding the ground/car parking?

I caught a train from Wolverhampton to Crewe, for the price of £18.50, and as I had booked in advance, it was cheaper. The train took just over half an hour to reach Crewe, so it's probably quicker than going via car or coach. The ground is one of the easiest to find from a train station, once you leave the station, take a left, and then left again is Gresty Road. In fact you can see the ground from the train window as you approach Crewe Station.

3. What you did before the game pub/chippy.... home fans friendly?

I had a brief walk around the ground, in search of something to eat, and found an excellent little chip shop opposite. It looks like a converted terraced house from the outside, so it would have been easy to miss, had it not been for the fans stood outside eating. £1.40 for a tray of chips seemed a little excessive to me, but they were very nice, and so warm that I imagine the tray they were in is still smouldering as we speak! The home fans seemed very friendly, although as it was a friendly match there weren't an awful lot of them about.

4. What you thought on seeing the ground, first impressions of away end then other sides of the ground?

The ground is dominated by the main stand, which towers above the other three smaller stands. It's one huge bank, rather than a tiered stand, and also hosts the tunnel and dugouts. The other stands seem very small in comparison, with the two stands behind each goal comprising of only a few rows of seating each. The away stand was nice enough, and the toilets and refreshment kiosks are actually located outside of the stand, which I'd imagine lessens the risk of those half time crushes in a concourse! One thing I noticed straight away was just how close you are to the pitch, I would guess that sitting on the front row of the away section, you’re no more than 6 yards from the touchline. It allows you to hear the players communicating, which is always interesting! It also meant that the first couple of rows of fans were sprayed by the pre-match sprinklers, although on a baking hot day, I didn't hear any complaints!

5. Comment on the game itself, atmosphere, stewards, pies, facilities etc..

A typical pre-season affair from both teams, played in very hot conditions, so much so that the referee decided to introduce a drinks break half way through each half, something he'd no doubt picked up on from watching the recent World Cup! Wolves controlled possession without creating too many clear cut chances, perhaps the best moments coming from new signing Rajiv Van La Parra, whose direct running down the wing did at least cause a few moments of concern within the Crewe defence. Both Leon Clarke and Danny Batth went close from corners, the latter having a header cleared off the line, whilst Michael Jacobs hit the wall with a free kick right on the stroke of half time. Crewe also threatened, notably when Kevin McDonald flicked the ball onto his own crossbar when clearing a corner, and Carl Ikeme was forced into a flying save to push a long range strike over the crossbar.

The second half continued in much the same vein, the absence of any real clear chances perhaps undermining some neat football from both sides. Clarke should have given Wolves the lead when he was left unmarked at the far post, but he could only nod Scott Golbourne's cross wide. Ikeme was again kept busy by a couple of long range strikes, one of which required an excellent low save to prevent the ball from nestling in the bottom corner. Ultimately, it was one moment of quality which won the game for Wolves. Substitute Nouha Dicko, last season's leading scorer, latched onto an excellent lofted pass from Lee Evans. He used his strength to muscle Thierry Audel of Crewe out of the way, before sidestepping the onrushing Scott Shearer, before squeezing the ball into the far corner. In truth it was a barely deserved winner, as there had been little in the game, but one can only hope that Dicko can provide those match winning moments in the League too.

The stewards were excellent, a visible but not overbearing presence, and the atmosphere was relaxed, with Crewe's stand barely half full, and the two stands behind the goal closed.

6. Comment on getting away from the ground after the game:

Very easy, a 5 minute walk from the ground back to the train station. The platform was a little crowded due to a couple of trains arriving before the one back to Wolverhampton, but the presence of thee British Transport Police meant there was no trouble.

7. Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:

A nice ground, which I imagine can create quite a noise when full. Obviously friendlies are always difficult to judge in terms of the quality of football, but as an away day, spending a couple of hours in the Cheshire sunshine was one of the more enjoyable ones in recent years!

Are you an away or general football fan who has visited Gresty Road recently?
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