FULL TIME: Crewe 1 Wanderers 1
ZAT Knight became the latest defensive casualty for Wanderers in a pre-season that just hasn't seemed to get going.
With Tim Ream and Matt Mills left out of the squad, presumably through injury, and David Wheater still on the long term list – the last thing Owen Coyle wanted to see was the sight of Knight hobbling off after just 18 minutes at the Alexander Stadium.
Wanderers were already a goal down and with no recognised centre backs on the bench, it took a serious reshuffle of the back four to get the team back on a solid footing.
Crewe had seized an advantage after only 10 minutes when Mathias Pogba managed to thread a ball through for Max Clayton, who kept his composure to plant a shot into the bottom corner.
It should have been two moments later when Knight pulled up off the ball with an apparent groin injury and left Pogba to race in on goal and slide a shot narrowly wide.
Knight hobbled off, leaving Owen Coyle to bring Joe Riley on as an emergency left-back and move Marcos Alonso into the middle.
Martin Petrov inspired Wanderers to mount a recovery, and when Alan Martin had beaten one swerving shot away from the Bulgarian, he then had to face him from 12 yards as referee Steve Ruston gave a harsh penalty against Pogba for handball. This time, Petrov gave the keeper no chance and the scores were level.
That settled things down for the Whites, although home fans claimed referee Rushton should have levelled up the penalty count when A-Jay Leitch-Smith collapsed under pressure from Riley on the edge of the box.
Petrov continued his one man charge and went close with two fizzing left-footed efforts, which keeper Martin did well to see, let alone push away.
Just one change was made at the break, with Andy Lonergan replacing Adam Bogdan in goal, and Wanderers made a fairly enterprising start to the second half.
Mark Davies burst into life for the first time, exchanging passes with Tyrone Mears before his goalbound shot was blocked, and Michael O'Halloran – on for Chung-Yong Lee – squeezed an effort wide when he had cleverly got the wrong side of his marker.
Riley and then Andrews tested the Crewe keeper from fully 30 yards but he continued to put up stubborn resistance, meaning Wanderers' wait for a pre-season victory stretches on at least another couple of days.
The result could have been worse, as Pogba wasted a chance to cap off a fine afternoon with a lobbed effort over Lonergan that landed on the roof of the net.
Wanderers: Bogdan (Lonergan 46), Mears, Knight (Riley 19), Ricketts, Alonso, Chung-Yong (O'Halloran 55), Andrews, Pratley (Eaves 87), Mark Davies, Petrov (Vela 65), Kevin Davies (Wylde 65) Not used: Blakeman, McQuade.
Attendance: 2,440 (506)