Dean steps in as Town's match-winner

Crewe 1 Ipswich Town 2ALL the Blues can do, in the face of mounting adversity, is carry on getting the results.When goal-scoring hero Alan Lee went off injured 12 minutes before the break, it looked as if the play-off hopes were limping out with him, but just as they needed another hero - up stepped Dean McDonald.

By Derek Davis

Crewe 1 Ipswich Town 2

ALL the Blues can do, in the face of mounting adversity, is carry on getting the results.

When goal-scoring hero Alan Lee went off injured 12 minutes before the break, it looked as if the play-off hopes were limping out with him, but just as they needed another hero - up stepped Dean McDonald.

The lively striker lived up to his pre-match assurance that he would score if given the chance and turned out to be a match-winner for Town.

The win gives the Blues their fourth win in five games in a run of eight unbeaten and gives their hopes of making a late run to the play-offs more credence.

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If they carry on showing this sort of spirit and application, the failure to make the top six won't be down to their efforts, but more because those in the box-seat won't be dropping too many points.

Crewe might be bottom of the league and 11 points adrift, but they still have plenty about them as they showed by hitting three past runaway Reading recently before losing, and drew at fancied Wolves last Saturday.

It was no surprise when they took the lead against Town as warning bells had already been sounded.

Steve Jones twice got inside Sito Castro and while one shot flashed across goal another low drive had to be tipped around a post by a fully stretched Shane Supple.

But on the quarter-hour Crewe switched their point of attack down the right flank and Luke Rodgers found space to deliver a low ball across the six-yard box and unmarked Steve Jones had the simplest of close-range tap-ins.

The Blues, with Richard Naylor partnering Lee up front, had probed a little in between Alex attacks and found their range three minutes after the opener to equalise.

A ball was cleared only as far as Matt Richards, who lofted it back into the mix and Lee, looking suspiciously offside, was strong enough to get up and get enough power on the ball to nod past a hapless Ross Turnbull.

That was Lee's fourth goal in his six games since signing for Town last month, but the joy was short-lived as he limped gingerly off injured 12 minutes from the break.

The incident looked innocuous enough as Lee went down on the soft turf in front of the superb travelling contingent of 750 Blues fans on the right wing after cutting back, with defender Anthony Tonkin in close attendance.

His replacement, Dean McDonald, was soon showing his jinking runs and skills, and almost carved a chance, but his inviting low ball across the goal found no takers.

Jimmy Juan tried one of his trademark free kicks from 25 yards, but young Crewe keeper Turnbull got across well to just get a hand to the ball and tip it over.

There could have been two goals in the opening minutes of the second half as both teams continued to play with freedom and class.

McDonald showed clever skill to release Scott Barron, but although his ball was cleared it soon found its way to the other wing and Sito played a tempting ball in behind the defence, but McDonald could not quite get to it.

The little striker, affectionately known as the Oompalumpah, then delivered on a pre-match promise to get his first Blues goal if given the chance, with a stunning strike.

McDonald collected a ball wide right from Richards, turned inside his man before hitting a wonderful shot from just inside the angle of the 18-yard box that struck the inside of the far post before hitting the net.

Although not his first league goal - that came while on loan at Hartlepool last month - it was his first for Town and his first in the Championship.

At the other end Steve Jones hit a terrific volley from the edge of the area, which was not far over the bar.

With Owen Garvan suspended, it was thought Jim Magilton might make what is becoming a rare start, but tactics dictated otherwise.

He did go on for an injured Fabian Wilnis four minutes after the break.

They played Elvis' It's Now Or Never before the game and sadly it looks like Crewe are never going to escape the drop as this was their seventh defeat in eight games - although they do have a chance for points when they play fellow strugglers Brighton on Saturday.

Town, on the other hand, continue their charge towards the top six.

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