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Crewe Control

By: Andrew Doherty
Date: 26/04/2023

THIS evening our heroes wore a "Green Town" shirt. For those reading in black and white, the shirt isn't green, but our customary black and white with "Green Town" across the front, recalling the "Food Town" logo of the 1990s.

The shirt links to our sponsors and to some of the sustainable initiatives which the club has been taking. "Green Town" reminds me of the sign I once saw on the approach to Scunthorpe: "Industrial Garden Town". "Do Not Enter" would have been better. On the footballing side evening's game serves no purpose other than to fulfil an obligation. I've lost track of the number of times our home league game against Crewe has been postponed, but I remember it started with cancellation due to the Queen's death, then the EFL Trophy of Breathtaking Irrelevance took precedence but with weather postponements and the cup run the fixtures piled up, and here we are now. I learnt earlier today that Brahms is playing at the Royal Albert Hall tonight in a similarly re-arranged fixture. If Brahms was the answer to our striking dilemma, it would be music to my ears, but this evening I'm concentrating on the here and now at Blundell Park. The game itself is now immaterial to both sides, as both Town and Crewe see out this season and prepare for another year of life in EFL League 2. From Town's perspective, Crewe has been one of our favoured opponents this season with comprehensive victories over the Railwaymen in the League Cup, and more recently away at Gresty Road in the league. Town's starting eco-warriors this evening were: Crocombe - Emmanuel, Waterfall, Smith, Glennon - Hunt, Holohan, Clifton, Khouri, Khan - Orsi.

Opposite the Black and White Green Machine were the Reds of Crewe. Hopefully not Red for Danger. Town kicked off, heading towards the Osmond end. The crowd of 4,482 comprising 62 Crewe supporters was quiet. The initial exchanges gave nothing to uplift the absent excitement. Town looked to have energy but neither side was able to finish moves off. On 8 minutes Khouri did well to win possession deep in the Crewe half. Orsi slipped the ball through to Clifton who was clear but with the ball bouncing was beaten by debutant Crewe goalkeeper Booth. On 12 minutes Holohan was fouled on the halfway line while working upfield, Hunt saw a gaping hole on the right and passed it into the space. Holohan saw the opportunity, ran on, picked up the ball and slipped it past Booth. Town 1, Crewe 0. Crewe almost replied a minute later following an Emmanuel mistake. Long's pass from the left found Mellor who from a good position made a hash of his shot. On 18 minutes Crewe went closer when Crocombe had to fight to stave off a looping header from Adjei following a cross from Uwakwe. Town were playing ok but were prone to mistakes, Hunt in particular. Even though the pace had slowed down, neither side was imposing themselves. Waterfall had a header from a Khan cross following a Town move, but the header was weak. The players of both sides seemed to be in a dream. Town put together a move on the half hour. Holohan was dispossessed. Crewe broke but Nevitt fell over himself with Waterfall in attendance. Town moved upfield. Khan did well on the left and crossed for Orsi who took an age to turn and lost a good opportunity to score from close range. On 35 minutes, Hunt lost possession. Long broke, finding Adjei who advanced to the edge of the box. Emmanuel came to the rescue, using his pace and guile to shake off the Crewe striker. Another move ended with a poor cross from Emmanuel, and then Clifton lost control on the edge of the Crewe area. Neither side posed any threat and this very ordinary half ended with Town leading 1 - 0.

A minute of the second half had passed. Finnegan played the ball forward. Crocombe came out and was beaten to the ball by Adjei who ran wide, but there was no-one from Crewe in the box to take advantage. Khan and Khouri then linked for a Town attack, Khouri's pass crossed the six yard box with no-one there. Orsi and Clifton combined. Clifton crossed. Khouri, about 10 yards out, turned but fired over. Soon after, Hunt played a great wide ball to Khan who was unable to finish. Hunt then was dispossessed in Town's half, and Smith did good work to shake off Long. A Clifton run on 54 minutes led to a Khouri shot which was saved. Both sides were playing more brightly now. On 59 minutes Adjei got a shot in from the right - corner to Crewe, but McDonald's header from the corner went well over. The teams ran around but there were no clear-cut chances. Clifton was guilty of losing control after good determined work by Khan to start a move. Adjei went close with a curled shot on 65 minutes. Khan and Khouri again combined well on the left, but Khouri's shot from a narrow angle on the left was wasteful. Crewe had a spell of attacking around the 70-minute mark. Baker-Richardson shook off Waterfall, allowing Long to get a shot which was deflected for a corner. Crewe won a second corner. Glennon cleared off the line with Nevitt on top of him. Town looked tired with Crewe making three earlier substitutions. On 75 minutes Braithwaite came on for his first Town league appearance, replacing Holohan. Khan was booked shortly afterwards for a foul around midfield. Orsi had an audacious attempt from the halfway line on 78 minutes after spotting the keeper off his line but Booth was able to get back. Green Town was starting to become Ghost Town as people started to leave. Three minutes later Town started a move up the right. Clifton battled. Emmanuel picked up the ball and passed to Clifton on the right. Clifton crossed, Orsi advanced and placed a lovely glancing header past Booth. Town 2, Crewe 0. O'Neill came on for Khouri who came off to deserved warm applause for his good work. In spite of Crewe's earlier attacks Crocombe hadn't had much to do but was forced to make a low save from Long, and on 88 minutes made a better save with his feet after Brook was clean through following a defence-splitting pass from Baker-Richardson. 3 minutes were added. Right on the 90-minute mark, Town broke with Hunt, Khan and Braithwaite surging forward. It was three on two. Hunt passed to Khan who could have done better than to fire his shot against Offord. The game finished after an off-balance Baker-Richardson, under pressure from Smith, fired wide. So it ended: Grimsby Town 2, Crewe Alexandra 0.

It's fair to say that we got the measure of Crewe this season. It wasn't the most accomplished performance this evening but for the most part Town looked comfortable. The vision of Khouri and Orsi were in evidence, Khan was industrious as ever in midfield and Smith had an excellent game at the back, positioning himself well and timing his tackles. It wasn't a high-powered team performance but what would you expect from Green Town. I'm sure we'll be pushed harder at Stevenage on Saturday. For a lot of this evening Town were in cruise control. Let's call it Crewe control.

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