Alex Down After Draws
Yesterday's set of results confirmed Crewe's relegation to League One, though the Alex had belatedly ensured relegation wouldn't be straight-forward. The recent improvement in form led to a sense of optimism surrounding Crewe's chances of survival in recent weeks. The victory over Sheffield Wednesday caused many Crewe fans to recalculate their side's chances of avoiding the drop, and although it was always going to be difficult, there were signs that it could be possible.
Saturday's draw at Palace was not a bad result. Although the performance was fairly dire up until Luke Rodgers' goal, the players' spirited fight back ensured that Crewe came away with a credible result. Steve Foster was Vital Crewe's man of the match that day, though Tony Grant was unlucky to miss out after another very good display. Madjid Bougherra showed signs of his midweek dental problems, whilst Jon Otsemobor was another who disappointed. Any positivity emanating from Saturday's draw, however, was quashed by the news that Sheffield Wednesday had beaten Norwich. Saturday's events typified the twists and turns we have come to expect from Crewe, with the optimistic atmosphere before the game perhaps slightly misguided as we became caught up with our win the week before. Expectations were once again to be inverted just two days later, as the league table showed that if Crewe failed to win, or if Sheffield Wednesday won, Crewe would abruptly be relegated. The possibility of such an imminent relegation was surprising, after talk the previous week of the relegation dogfight going right down to the wire.
Suprising as it may have been, Crewe's relegation was to be confirmed as suddenly as Easter Monday. A dire first half offered few signs of the significance of the game, though an improvement was to ensue as the second half got under way. David Vaughan was looking more like the player of last season as he adopted a semi-free role, wandering into the centre, only to have to track back in defence to keep the team's shape. Vaughany eventually bagged the goal Crewe's second half performance deserved as he beautifully struck the ball from 25 yards out into the top-right hand corner. Celebrations broke out, though ultimately, a Brighton equaliser was required if Vaughany's goal was to be significant. The monotonous Dario in vs Dario out competition arose, before Jason Koumas matched his compatriot's wonderstrike. The Welsh international curled the ball around Ross Turnbull into the top right-hand corner, all but confirmed Crewe's relegation. News filtered through of a second Sheffield Wednesday goal, before the final whistle signalled an end to Crewe's stay in the Championship. Steve Foster and Madjid Bougherra were excellent at the back, Steve Jones was poor on the right whilst Tony Grant wasn't up to his usual standards before he was replaced by Gary Roberts as a result of an injury.
However, Saturday's tributes to the tragic Hillsborough disaster victims should cause any football fan to acknowledge the relative unimportance of any events their side has either enjoyed or endured this season.