Crewe Alexandra 1-1 Fleetwood TownDespite creating a number of second half opportunities, Fleetwood Town had to settle for a share of the spoils at Gresty Road with a 1-1 draw in the final game before Christmas 2015.
Ryan Lowe opened the scoring for the hosts as early as the fifth minute, as he drilled an effort into the bottom corner from the edge of the box.
David Ball equalised almost immediately however, when Bobby Grant played him in down the right and he struck thunderously past keeper Ben Garratt.
Steven Pressley made one change to the team that beat Morecambe in the JPT northern area semi-final, with Ball replacing Tariqe Fosu in the front three.
Town were behind early on when the experienced Lowe fired past Chris Maxwell and into the bottom corner from 18 yards.
The home side’s lead didn’t last long though, and Ball replied for the Cod Army with a fierce effort that was too much for Garratt to keep out.
In what was an open game, James Jones’ effort from just inside the box was blocked well by Nathan Pond on the quarter hour mark after the Alex had broken down the left.
With clear cut chances at a premium for both sides, Billy Bingham went the closest midway through the half as he drew a smart stop out of Maxwell.
Conor McLaughlin later had an opportunity for the visitors before the break, but his long range strike was comfortably held by Garratt.
The Cod Army started the second half strongly, and Henen looked a threat down the left as he twice went close with efforts.
Eggert Jonsson then nearly gave his side the lead when his close range header hit the post, and Pond’s follow up was blocked on the line.
Jonsson was impressing in the middle, and played Ball in on the hour mark who saw his effort saved by well Garratt from a good position.
For the home side, defender Semi Ajayi rose highest to meet a corner in the box but screwed a header wide of the far post.
With a quarter of an hour remaining, Pressley introduced both Nick Haughton and Jamie Proctor for Bobby Grant and Ball respectively.
The Railwaymen’s threat was in the air, and defender Ben Nugent wasted a good chance with a header from a thrown in as Maxwell collected low down.
Sub Haughton had an effort go begging in the dying embers of the game, scuffing a close range shot following good work from Bell on the left flank.
With Crewe goalkeeper Garrett getting the Man of the Match award, it told the story for Fleetwood Town on a damp afternoon in Staffordshire.
In added time, Henen should have won the match for Fleetwood after sub Proctor played him through, but he hit the side netting.
The next game will be on Boxing Day at Shrewsbury Town