Good Job, Thordarson
Those slight rumblings of dissatisfaction about Thordarson's management that emerged earlier in the week have been silenced today.
I'm not saying the Iceman has got us on the next train to the Championship but right now being off the bottom of League One is as good as promotion for any Crewe fan. Whilst Holland was in charge I honestly couldn't see us budging, we were going down without a fight.
Thordarson has now been in charge for a month but until today we were seeing any effects on the pitch. He'd talked the talk, making clear what he expects from both players and himself, and also rang the changes in terms of staff. On the pitch though it hadn't gone the way we wanted. Sixteen goals conceded in five games suggested nothing had changed from a results perspective.
Thankfully, in the world of football a week can change everything. Marlon Broomes arrived on Monday with John Ruddy arriving on Thursday. Two new players for two very problematic areas. Could two changes to a faultering team really turn it around?
On today's showing: yes. Are we getting ahead of ourselves? Hell yeah, but let's not be kill joys.
For once we looked like a team capable of defending. Marlon Broomes and Dennis 'Snoop Dogg' Lawrence were immense, patrolling the back line like no other centre half pairing we've seen this season (or last). Brayford we know is a classy player and Billy Jones, for all the stick he gets, I don't think he's as bad as many make out. Poor set pieces but rarely troubled when it mattered.
Giving a verdict on John Ruddy between the sticks is hard. It's pleasing to say he didn't have much to do at all. Tranmere's goal in the middle of the first half was a tough one to call. Hit low and hard it snuck in off the far post. It's debatable if Ruddy should have had it covered and because of that maybe we should just let it go? Generally though he knows how to oragnise his defence and make himself heard. Tommo, Collis take note.
Up front Donaldson and Pope gave the Tranmere defenders a tough time. Never giving up on balls they ran and covered more ground than anyone, but the severe lack of goal scoring chances they made for themselves leaves you doubting if they're the pair to get us the goals.
The one chance created in the first half was scrubbed off the board by an over eager set of officials who gave more odd decisions in the first 15 minutes than we've had all season. A long bouncing ball into the Tranmere box saw Donaldson nod it round the onrushing goalkeeper and slotted into the open net. For some reason the linesman flagged; he wasn't offside, confirmed when the referee immediately booked him. Handball? Definitely not.
Zola came on in the second half and shook things up. He's one who comes in for a lot of stick, mainly because of his £200,000 transfer fee that he has no control over. I'm putting my cards on the table here and officially declaring Zola as our most under rated player. He kept the ball up front, he had Tranmere players bouncing off him and, guess what, played a massive part in both of our goals.
He looks like Bambi on ice, he's not worth £200,000 and he's a mard arse but useless? No. You're wrong.
So onto the bad points. The midfield. At times it didn't exist today, there was just nothing to connect the defence to the attack. I'm not sure what role Woodards was trying to play but it wasn't working. Carrington had a very good game but up against your average League One midfielder he's going to be bullied off the pitch before long.
On the wings was dire. Danny Shelly didn't get into the game at all, rarely getting a touch it just seemed to pass him by before being replaced by Joel Grant at half time. Grant's 45 minutes was far from revolutionary but he scored one goal and played a part in the other, can you ask much more?
Colin Daniel on the other hand was in the game but may as well have been in a Tranmere kit. I like Daniel, I think he's got a good future at the club, but not sure he's quite up to this standard yet. He seems to panic on the ball or be drawn towards the opposition defenders and whilst I'm far from Byron Moore's biggest fan I think Moore offers more consistency.
Thankfully the game was won and what could has been a scathing attack on a match losing performance by some turned into a pretty praise worthy post.
It was an ugly performance with ugly football from both sides. It looks like the pretty triangle passes from Dario are long gone but needs must.
Ugly football doesn't bother me, if Thordarson can keep the same defence as composed and solid as today for the rest of the season then what a star he is. There's still room for a central midfielder to throw his weight around though if you're reading, Thord.
Yeovil on Tuesday is a must win due to the lack of results going our way outside the relegation zone today but I'm more confident about a Crewe win than I have been in a very long time. This team & manager can pull this great escape lark off.
Oh, and did I ever mention....
WE'RE OFF THE BOTTOM OF THE LEAGUE!