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Crewe No Contest
Onwards and...upwards? By: Eric Hitchmo 29/01/2012
Crewe Alexandra H
28/01/2012   (Click date for match details)
League 2011-2012
W  2- 0
MCLEOD '30
HECTOR '77
Attendance: 2263  (336 Away)
More On Crewe Alexandra



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Well, I say no contest, rather I mean that once our opponents were reduced to nine men it became a no contest. Before such time, Crewe were giving us a very good run for our money and as our great leader Lawrie Sanchez commented, the outcome may have been somewhat different had the tables remained even.

Alas, they did not and we were able to very comfortably see the game through to its completion. The first red card wasn't debateable as Izale McLeod was felled from behind after a lovely ball over the top by Sam Deering. From the resulting penalty, McLeod calmly sent the 'keeper the wrong way to break his three game 'duck' and register his 20th goal of the season. The home crowd applauded politely. A quarter of an hour later and the visitors were down to nine. This one had a bit more controversy about it as it did seem a rather harsh decision on a day where the referee seemed to be in Barnet's favour. A late tackle, yes, most likely worthy of a yellow card, but the official appeared to make up his mind straight away and ordered another adversary to have a bath. Not that we were complaining about it of course, but you could certainly afford a degree of sympathy to Alex and their travelling support.

Beforehand, Crewe had certainly justified their position as potential playoff contenders. They hassled and harried us for the opening quarter of an hour and we were firmly on the back foot as they fired in several efforts on Dean Brill's goal. One moment of note was when a shot narrowly missed the near post and rebounded into the net behind the goal, to which many of the away supporters greeted with celebration, believing it to have gone in. Those of us in the know greeted their ill-judgement with ironic cheers, yet they still continued to celebrate, until it finally dawned on them that in fact, the ball had not gone in. Unless of course, they genuinely believed they had scored and remain confused to this very moment that the final result reads 2-0, rather than 2-1.

We weathered the storm to a degree and were given the opportunity to take an unjust lead with the aforementioned penalty. McLeod made no mistake, and by half time we were staring a fourth consecutive victory in the face. In truth, Crewe were given an uphill struggle and it was the will of many in the crowd for us to come out all guns blazing in an attempt to thrash the visitors. It was evident as the second period began that this was not going to be the case. While it is natural that the supporter in all of us wishes to be entertained with free-flowing football and goals aplenty, the more reserved amongst us knew that the win was the most important thing, however we managed it. Though it was not pretty by any stretch of the imagination, the key would be to not allow Crewe to have the ball in order to prevent them from snatching an unlikely equaliser, and to tire them into submission. In the main, we managed to do this reasonably well.

Crewe managed the odd foray forward which panicked the home support but patience was a virtue, and eventually, inevitably, the visitors began to noticeably fatigue. It was at this point where things loosened up and we were able to dominate proceedings. This was helped no less by the presence of new loan signing Jordan Obita who appeared on the left wing in the continued absence of Mark Marshall. In his 35 minutes on the field, Obita exhibited signs of recent wingers we have had, your Adomah's, your Puncheon's, who get the crowd excited any time they come near the ball. Though Crewe's right back seemed to do pretty well against him, you could see from this glimpse that Obita can potentially be a real asset to us. He differs from Marshall greatly, in that there appears to be an immediate instinct to get the ball into the box. No fannying about, just get it in there. He could be handy.

As for Marshall, it remains to be seen what exactly is happening with him. Sanchez stated that comment will be made this week, and without giving too much daylight to rumour, it doesn't seem like it's going to be good news. It doesn't exactly take a rocket scientist to work it out when we've signed a player to cover his position , but shall we just wait until the club comment?

The pressure did tell eventually, and Obita was involved when he fed Holmes, whose looping cross was volleyed home by Michael Hector who was again excellent out of position at right back. Clearly buoyed by having little to do on the defensive side, Hector appeared a man on a mission to get a goal and could have had another moments later. So too could Byrne, Deering, McLeod and Taylor who all could have notched and given the scoreline a fairly harsh look. It was efficient and professional without being pretty, but what's important is that we registered a fourth league win on the bounce, and now we are as far away from the playoffs as we are from the relegation zone (give or take a point).

Now I am not for one moment suggesting that we are on our way to the playoffs, even if the excitable boy inside me wants it to be so. The points we have picked up in January are huge. 12 from a possible 12 has forged clear daylight between us and trouble and while our immediate target should rightly be to get another 18 points to reach the hallowed 50, the confidence that pulses through the side right now should be allowed to flow. If the team believe that they can make it to the playoffs then why not? I'm not getting carried away here, and I'm sure the focus will first be safety, then to appraise where we go from there. When Lincoln put a run together like this last season, did they have relegation on their mind? Of course they didn't, and an absurd turn of events saw that it came and bit them extremely hard.

With that in mind, next week we face playoff rivals Oxford United. Five? Really?




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All Articles By This Author:

Date 
24/04/2013 Farewell
19/04/2013 Underhill
03/04/2013 Away
02/02/2013 Questions
21/12/2012 Miserable
07/11/2012 Corner
21/10/2012 Win
15/10/2012 Burst
08/10/2012 Glimmer
04/10/2012 Same
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Other Articles By Category


Date 
24/04/2013 Farewell
19/04/2013 Underhill
03/04/2013 Away
02/02/2013 Questions
21/12/2012 Miserable
07/11/2012 Corner
21/10/2012 Win
15/10/2012 Burst
08/10/2012 Glimmer
04/10/2012 Same
12345678910...

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