Alexandra Stadium - Crewe Alexandra
Tuesday March 23rd 2004
Vs Stoke City, Championship League, 7.45pm
By M Read
We set off from Stoke at 6:30pm for the rearranged local derby with Crewe, travelling up the M6 and entering Crewe from the west. Stoke had not won a local derby with either Port Vale or Crewe in nearly ten attempts, and the Stoke fans making the short journey north were wondering/praying that our recent form of one loss in sixteen previous league games could be followed through to this clash.
Having seen Gresty road several times before on my frequent travels to Crewe, I was quite glad to be entering the ground for the first time. Gresty road must be one of the easiest grounds to find in division one. (In my opinion) We found a parking space very easily, and ended up in a side street full of warehouses, about three quarters of a mile from the ground. There is a Brewsters on the main road heading into the town centre, and that seemed to be where the majority of Stoke fans had chosen to drink (it is also very close to the ground, and the railway stand is on show from Brewsters, which is like a “north star” in terms of guiding people to the ground). We walked to the roundabout at the end of this road, turned left, crossed a bridge over the rail-track and passed the rail station, and turned left into Gresty road. There are plenty of takeaways within walking distance of the ground, but oddly, not too many pubs.
There was an overly high police presence which added unnecessary tension between rival supporters making their way to the ground, but fortunately, there was never any chance of real trouble taking place. A quick flash of my ID card, and I entered the ground. The toilets were small and basic, but the food was good. I walked up some steps, that seemed to have been built on a pile of mud, and entered the ground.
Gresty road consisted of one good quality main stand running along the side of the pitch (Railway Stand) and three poor but functional stands running around the rest of the pitch. The Stoke fans were, oddly, located in two full sides of the ground, which accommodated the 2200 allocation. The remaining “garden shed” end seemed to be where the more vocal Crewe fans take up residence. The game sold out, as expected.
Well, as for the game itself, as many pessimists were expecting, a Stoke defeat was the outcome. Stoke weren’t bad at all, in fact, we were rather unlucky, hitting woodwork three times. But that said, Crewe’s tactics of defending, then hitting us on the break, were effective enough for them to take a 2-0 victory, 3 points, and a derby scalp. The first goal was very lucky, but could have been prevented if Stoke had tightened up after earlier warnings. Lunt was given a half chance, and miss hit the ball, which was heading desperately wide, until Darel Russell stuck out a leg, and deflected the ball past a stranded Ed De Goey to send the Crewe fans mental with delight. (Their fans behind the goal to our right particularly enjoyed running towards the Stoke fans, to their left, to celebrate the goal)
The atmosphere from both sets of fans had been good up to this point, and the Stoke and Crewe fans both got louder after the goal.
The second goal was simply a very good finish. Lunt once again found himself in a good shooting position, and fair play to him, he cracked in a stunner of a goal to give Crewe breathing space, and to send Stoke’s miserable run, in derby games without a win, into double figures.
Getting away from the ground was pretty easy, although the police had oddly made a block that attempted to prevent Stoke and Crewe fans from mixing, but just made some peoples’ journey longer. Getting away from the side street we had parked in took a while though as many other Stoke fans had chosen to do the same. There was no trouble from what I could see, although the “banterometer” must have been off the scale!
Overall, Gresty road is a poor ground, but it is practical, and it does more than accommodate Crewe’s average attendance. Very easy to find, and very close to the train station, it is certainly not the worst ground there is to visit. At least Gresty road is all covered! (Priestfield springs to mind). Certainly not one of my favourite away days although at least it is a local derby.
an away or general football fan who has visited the Alexandra Stadium recently?
If so why not submit your own review of the ground and general day out?
Click here to find out more.
Return To The Crewe Page
Return To The Main Menu
© Duncan Adams 2009
All rights reserved
Last Updated: 21 January, 2009