Date:Saturday September 14 2013
14/09/2013 - 15:00
It`s difficult to know where to start with this one. It would be very easy to jump to the end and talk about how much we dominated the last half an hour, scored three good goals and kept a clean sheet away at a team who`ve held a hoodoo over us for far too long. However, doing just that would be glossing over a performance that, for the first 60 minutes of the match, saw us match Crewe for ineptitude.
The first half was a dreadful spectacle, which saw us have a weak Westcarr effort go straight at their keeper, and Mantom sidefoot a shot over the bar. Crewe were no better with two efforts flying wide and another weak one that trickled into the gloves of O`Donnell. We were huffing and puffing, but not really going anywhere. Troy Hewitt was putting himself about alone up top but was looking isolated, and both Sam Mantom and Ashley Hemmings tried lung bursting runs in possession, only to be stopped by crude Crewe challenges on both occasions.
Even after half time it was still very much a tepid affair. Andy Butler stepped out of the defence to carry the ball forward 50 yards without being challenged and would probably been given the freedom to take it all the way if he`d have wanted too. However, he passed it wide and the move broke down. The game had 0-0 written all over it, and at that point I think I`d have swapped Westcarr for Sawyers and tried to inject some life into the team.
This is probably why I`m not a football manager.
65 minutes in and we won what I think was our first corner of the game and, crucially, it proved to be the turning point. Hemmings played the corner to the edge of the box for Mantom to strike; it came back out to him so he had another go and, with the aid of a deflection or two the ball found its way to the feet of Butler on the 6 yard line. He looked miles offside, but the Crewe defender who was on the post for the corner had inexplicably stayed on the goal line and played everyone onside. The chance was squandered but the ball wasn`t properly cleared and the Saddlers kept the pressure on. A spot on penalty area pinball finally saw the ball drop to Westcarr who placed the ball into the bottom left corner of the net. 1-0, and it was just what the game needed.
Suddenly the Saddlers were galvanised into action as the confidence visibly flowed back into the team. Hewitt flashed an effort high and wide, and then Crewe had a chance to equalise but also put an effort just wide. Then, just four minutes after the opening goal, Crewe were caught overplaying at the back and Westcarr stole the ball off a centre half who rashly brought him down for a spot kick. Westcarr himself, who had previously missed spot kicks both in the JPT shootout at Molineux and in pre-season at Kidderminster, picked the ball up and sent the keeper the wrong way. 2-0, and game over.
He could have had the most unlikely of hat tricks moments later when an inch perfect Andy Butler left wing cross (yes, you read that right), saw Westcarr dispatch a crashing volley just wide. Had it gone in, it would have been reminiscent of Grigg`s volley against Scunthorpe the season before last, but it wasn`t to be.
We still had time to put the icing on the cake when substitute James Baxendale again intercepted a square ball across the box by Crewe and, having looked round as if to question why he had so much space, regained his composure and tucked the chance away nicely for 3-0.
So all in all, a good away win, and a morale boosting 3 points to take to The Wembley of League One (ęPaul Franks - BBC WM) on Tuesday night. We must start playing from minute one though instead of minute 61. If we don`t then better sides than Crewe, and today suggests there could be 23 of them in this league, will have us beaten long before we click into gear. A very good win, an emphatic scoreline, but it was far from perfect.
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Date:Saturday September 14 2013
|9. Port Vale||19||9||2||8||0||29|
|12. MK Dons||18||6||4||8||-1||22|
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