Lunt Arrival Marks Turnaround
Attacking football, flair, pace, passion... it's finally arrived for Crewe. Today's draw at Leeds was bittersweet, on one hand it was horrible and gutting to concede a goal in the final 4 minutes (or 10, if you include the ludicrous amount of injury time) but on the other, a point against any play-off chasing side was unthinkable just under a month ago.
In fact, we are now three unbeaten with five points under our belt against three of the better sides in this division: Orient, Swansea and Leeds. Before the Swansea game at the start of the month I was dreading what was to come: several of the top teams in the division whilst we were barely managing to make a game of it against the worst sides in the division.
Aside from recent results though, yesterdays performance was pleasing enough. It showed progression from the drab, defensive displays we saw throughout December and January. It was attack minded and full of spirit; by no means were we careless in defence, and it isn't from one extreme to the other, it's just a simple change of personnel in midfield.
You can do nothing but applaud the acquisitions of Kenny Lunt and Gary Roberts neither, both played a vital role at Elland Road. Roberts was immense, with skill we've not seen at Gresty Road in a fair while. He troubled Leeds throughout, and roamed both on the wing and inside - setting up Maynard's goal in the process. Lunt meanwhile orchestrated everything.
Maybe it's now time for the boo boys, who hounded Lunt in his final few seasons at the club in his first spell, to rightfully hang their heads in shame and plead for an apology. By no means was I a massive Lunt fan, but nor did I ever actively want him out of the club. He did the job asked of him, it wasn't a very exciting one but it was certainly important. I expect most fans realised this, which is why his build & club captaincy were often the targets of abuse.
He showed his class yesterday though. Whether you like it or not, orchestrate is what he did. Most balls came through him all afternoon and they were pinged left, right and centre and more often than not found their man. It was also asking a little too much for a goal scoring return, which is why his 25 yard free kick rattled the crossbar rather than the net in the first half.
The free kick was one of a few chances where you thought 'if only' once Leeds' Kandol rose above Ben Williams to equalise. Nicky Maynard missed from about 10 yards out with the keeper stranded, a shot on target would probably have been enough for a goal but he hooked it wide, whilst Byron Moore forced a super save from the Leeds keeper when his rebound was tipped round the bottom of the upright.
There were also countless penalty claims and at least one claim for a professional foul. It all made for a rather exciting afternoon, and whilst Ben Williams had to be in fine form it was nothing that had finger nails in danger.
I will put my cards on the table now and say that I think 13 more performances of that quality and there is not a chance we will be relegated. Steve Holland has maybe pulled this (sinking?) ship around with recent signings; if he can top it off with a new striker and the return of Steve Jones then I see survival there for the taking.
Well done Steve Holland, well done to the team and well done to the 800 or so Alex fans who roared the team on.
Onwards and upwards.