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League One

Practice makes perfect for Crewe Alexandra's Vadaine Oliver

1 March 2014

Crewe Alexandra boss Steve Davis saluted his side's grandstand finish which saw substitute Vadaine Oliver's super strike secure a point from a 1-1 draw against promotion-chasing Swindon Town.

While it was not enough to prevent the Railwaymen from dropping into the bottom four, this was a draw snatched from the jaws of what should have been a fairly comprehensive defeat, so dominant had the Robins been until the final 15 minutes.

Oliver, who has struggled for fitness and form since arriving from Lincoln last summer, conjured up a superb volley to stun the complacent visitors with 13 minutes left after Ryan Harley's 48th-minute thunderbolt had given the visitors the lead.

Swindon enjoyed a let-off when Chuks Aneke missed a penalty two minutes before the interval.

But the visitors certainly did no't enjoy the closing stages as Crewe mounted a stirring finish with a fitting reward for Oliver, whose only previous strike was against Peterborough in September.

Davis said: "I hope the goal gives Vadaine some confidence.

"He's not been able to score the goals at this level, but he's a strong and powerful lad to play against.

"He practices his shooting and he is getting better.

"We couldn't get the ball in the first-half to control any part of the game.

"We missed a penalty, although it was maybe a fortunate award. It was very uncharacteristic of Chuks as he normally rolls those.

"Our front four were very disappointing, but we made three changes in Cameron Park, Billy Waters and Vadaine and they all gave us some life.

"Cameron kept himself going and showed a lot of quality now and again.

"We changed the shape and it gave us some thrust which worked. We gave them no end of problems in the final 15 minutes."

Crewe had been on the receiving end of a 5-0 battering at Swindon in August and at times they appeared en-route to suffering in the same way.

The home crowd were in subdued mood after an emotional minute's applause in memory of the club's late photographer Pete Warburton.

But Crewe appeared to have been given an unexpected helping hand three minutes before the break when loanee Park successfully appealed after whipping in a cross from the right.

Referee Rob Lewis awarded the spot kick after consulting with his assistant, who spotted Harley's raised arm blocking the winger's delivery.

But Aneke lofted his penalty high over Tyrell Belford's crossbar.

Swindon made the most of their escape within three minutes of the resumption when Harley blasted an unstoppable finish from 15 yards out into the top corner after more marauding work by man-of-the-match Byrne.

Smith and substitute Danny N'Guessan went close to easing Swindon's passage.

But the visitors were caught stone cold by a bombardment triggered by the arrival of Oliver.

Belford kept out a far-post header from Aneke, after a fine Mark Ellis free-kick and within seconds Aneke had the bar reverberating with the impact of his curling drive.

Then Oliver galloped clear and thrashed a volley from 25 yards past the bemused Belford as Crewe secured an unlikely point.

Swindon boss Cooper said: "Our keeper should have saved it (Oliver's effort) as it's been hit straight at him from 30 yards.

"I'm disappointed with Tyrell for letting that one in.

"It was very frustrating as it's possibly one of our best performances. We totally dominated the game for 80 minutes.

"But you have got to put the ball into the back of the net if you dominate games like that

"We gave Crewe a bit of a lift and they finished a lot stronger than us.

"The game should have been dead - but you can't have that much play in the final third as we did and only be leading 1-0."

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