League Two Form Guide
Question of the WeekWhat do you think of the new timekeeping rules?
Doing the Locomotion
By: Andrew Doherty
IN spite of my work base for a couple of years overlooking the Gresty Road stadium of railway epicentre Crewe, I've only ever been inside it once prior to today. That was in 1977 for a Division 4 game. In front of 2,227 spectators, we won 2 - 0. The scorers were Ford and Liddell.
My memories of it are twofold: Liddell's goal which was a low curler from outside the area, particularly surprising as Town's striker used to spend much of his time falling over, and a Crewe supporter who throughout the whole game voiced apoplectically his dissatisfaction at the home side's awfulness. It reminded me at the time of being in the Barratt's Stand. They finished 15th that season, and I guess his analysis was right because they finished bottom of the league the following season. Town on the other hand finished 6th before two successive years of promotion. The rest, as the platitude goes, is history. We're both back in the lower reaches of Division 4 now with broadly similar records.
Earlier in the season I moaned about the ticket price at Wimbledon. I did get some feedback from a Wimbledon bond investment and season ticket holder who responded by saying that they'd put their money into the new stadium and the club. Fair enough, and I'm happy to acknowledge that and the fact that it is in expensive south west London. So why then is it £25 entry fee at Crewe which does not have a new stadium and is not in south west London? Perhaps a Crewe supporter would like to answer that one. On top of this, the options when buying on Town's site were either to collect from the ground or pay £6.75 extra plus the £1 booking fee for having it posted special delivery. Usually it's an extra £2.50 plus £1, which is bad enough. Large numbers of our support don't live in North East Lincolnshire and may not have anyone to go, collect it and post it for them, and so are stuck with paying £32.75 to watch Crewe v Grimsby, or not going at all. Well having bitten the bullet of the ticket price I was back here down Memory Lane in Crewe. Gresty Lane actually, just up the road from the ground, where I walked over to the Pre-Assembly Depot, known as the PAD, followed by a quick look at the Aggregates Handling Depot, the AHD. This constitutes a tourist attraction in railway-centric Crewe, but there weren't any tourists, not even Derby Mariner Andy who I know is partial to a bit of rolling stock. He missed nothing.
The job in hand for both teams is to consolidate our league position. After the euphoria of our cup game at Luton, it's time to concentrate again. The play-off places seem too far away but a slide down the table is not inevitable, but something we can control. You'd think that the confidence that we showed last week against superior opposition might rub off in the league performances but there's not been a lot of evidence of it. We all have our take on these things, but being away from home might give us a slight advantage with less expectation on the players than if we were at Blundell Park. I don't know.
It was a grey day in Crewe. I was told by someone, when I once commented that it looked like rain, that it always looks like rain in Crewe but it rarely gets round to raining. The only bright spot was the impressive and much-improved stadium, painted all round in home colour red. On this basis you'd think Town would wear traditional black and white, but instead we were in our blue kit. Town's side today was: Crocombe, Efete, Waterfall, Maher, Amos - Emmanuel, Hunt, Morris, Clifton - McAtee - Lloyd. I can only think that Holohan and Orsi were being rested for the Luton game. It's a very Hurst ploy to play new signings straightaway even though they can't possibly know the shape and this is what has happened with Emmanuel, signed "through circumstance", and father-friendly George Lloyd making their Town debuts.
4 minutes passed. Crewe attacked. The attack broke down. Town countered. Lloyd played the ball forward. McAtee picked the ball up on the half way line and advanced, cut inside and hit a screamer from outside the box past Richards. 1-0 to Town. Crewe responded by winning a free kick on the edge of Town's box. Ainley's curler was just wide. The game had got off to a lively start. Town looked up for it. Crewe had a corner which came to nothing, then on 11 minutes Amos hit a low shot from range. It beat Richards but went wide. McAtee then almost got in front of Adebisi but couldn't get power in the shot. Crewe had a short spell. McAtee body checked Agyei. Town scrambled the ball away from the cross. Ainley had a shot blocked - corner to Crewe. Clutching at straws, the home fans desperately called for handball decisions. Town's fans responded by appealing for handball every time any player touched the ball. It's only fair. Town continued to work hard, and on 20 minutes Emmanuel did well to keep the ball in play before supplying Clifton whose shot was blocked. A poor clearance was then picked up by Hunt but the attack came to nothing. Half an hour had gone when Town put together a neat move, starting with Hunt. Emmanuel crossed, Clifton turned but his shot had the power but not the height. The game looked to go quiet. McAtee decided to do something about it, robbing the defender and supplying Lloyd who belted an unstoppable low shot to Richards's left in a carbon copy of Town's opening goal. Crewe 0, Town 2. Town continued to press. A Clifton cross was blocked. Pace, forward movement, a dummy by McAtee - it was falling into place for Town against a hapless Crewe side whose turn would come, no doubt. Crewe did win two corners late in the half but Town's defence stood solid. Lloyd had a shot just before half time after a McAtee layoff but it was too high. It remained 2 - 0 to Town at half time. Town were well on top.
Town started the second half with the same endeavour as they showed in the first. On 48 minutes Clifton shot over after a layoff from Clifton. Town were winning every battle in midfield. McAtee was biting legs, Morris and Clifton were winning 50 - 50 balls and new boys Lloyd and Emmanuel were everywhere. On 54 minutes.Efete was fouled. Richards made a mess of the cross but retrieved the situation by gathering McAtee's overhead effort. Crewe won a corner but the danger was quickly over when a team foul was committed. Town continued to win battles. Emmanuel fought to win a throw. McAtee picked up a loose header from Finnigan. The ball came in the right but with Lloyd homing in the ball slid by the post. Crewe threw a number of substitutes at it to enhance their poor performance so far. One of them Robertson won a corner on 60 minutes. Crocombe. under pressure, punched clear before gathering the ball. Lloyd then robbed a Crewe defender before being fouled cynically. On 65 minutes Sambou was sent through with a defence-splitting pass but Maher was on hand and brilliantly shielded the Crewe striker off the ball. Both Maher and Waterfall had been magnificent. Crocombe then sent the ball out. Morris picked up the ball and sent a super ball forward to Lloyd who in spite of his efforts couldn't find the space to put in a clean shot. But it was a good effort. Emmanuel then surged forward and was tripped. On 73 minutes Green and O'Neill came on for Hunt and McAtee. Within 10 seconds Green made his Mark by tripping the advancing Agyei and receiving a yellow card. The second half so far hadn't been much of a spectacle as Town looked to stop Crewe while launching the occasional attack and looking more dangerous when they did. On 74 minutes an Emmanuel cross was sliced clear for a Town corner. A nice move followed, with O'Neill squirming to find space on the edge of the box. His pass to the overlapping Amos was too long. On 75 minutes Lloyd went off to great appreciation, being replaced by Tom Dickson-Peters, leading to the mouthwatering prospect of a Tom Dick and Harry Clifton link up. Crewe's defending was now getting more desperate with big vertical heaves out of defence being the norm. On 82 minutes Efete cut out a shot from Agyei, who laughably won Crewe's Man of the Match. The game was scrappy with Town doing the job, closing the game down and providing the quality. On 84 minutes the impressive Morris picked the ball up in midfield and played it out to the right. In came Amos to receive it. Amos drilled a low shot towards the right hand post. Dickson-Peters saw it coming and beat off the defender to deflect Amos's shot into the net past Richards. Crewe 0, Town 3. Behind the goal Crewe's fans filed out in numbers. "Is there a fire alarm?", enquired Town's fans in song. Glennon replaced Clifton on 88 minutes. The game was played out with Town triumphant: Crewe Alexandra 0, Grimsby Town 3. Crewe's turn never came. Crocombe had no shots to save and Town were dominant throughout.
Town won this one-sided game at a canter against poor opposition. We were superior in all areas, showing energy, tenacity, pace and better technical skill. Emmanuel and Lloyd added a dimension which put paid to the doubts about the quality we may have in our squad. Every player performed as if their lives depended on it. In this most railway of places, Town provided the motive power today.
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