Date:Sunday January 24 2010
Crewe secured a routine win against bottom of the league Darlington yesterday with the returning Calvin Zola netting twice.
Despite their midweek win at Rotherham in midweek, just their third for the season, Darlington proved little match for an out of form Alex side. With Joel Grant and Calvin Zola both returning to the line up hopes of returning to form were boosted.
The Alex pounded the Darlington goal from the off, taking advantage of some 'colourful' goalkeeping and wayward defending. Shots from Zola and Donaldson hit the crossbar, one came back off the line and others didn't fall right.
It seemed an age before the first goal came but in fact it was only clocked at 23 minutes. A goal line clearance fell to Westwood on the edge of the area, Westy chipped it back into the penalty area melee and as Donaldson's first time shot was parried it fell for Zola to tap in from just four yards.
One goal opened the flood gates. Six minutes after the first Zola, Donaldson and Grant combined to get the second. Zola's run and cross was met by Donaldson but Donaldson's scuffed shot could only find an unmarked Joel Grant who neatly finished.
And by the 33rd minute the game was all but over as Zola got his second of the game and 16th for the season. Donaldson, Grant and Westwood combined well before Westy's ball into the box was nodded past a hapless Darlington keeper.
Westwood could have added further to the goals before half time but his superb free-kick from 25 yards out was parried to safety by Liversedge in the Darlington nets.
The second half was somewhat of an anti-climax. Whilst many fans wanted to see Darlington put to the sword there was little to get excited about. Dario, happy with the three goal advantage, clearly saw no need to risk letting the Quakers back into it and so played it safe.
The Darlington boss, Steve Staunton, however made his feelings known about his sides performance - three substitutions at half time speaking volumes.
The Alex's play got a little sloppy and probably too defensive as the half wore on. Darlington never really looked like getting the ball into the back of their net, their best chance arriving through Mor Diop after an hour. Diop took advantage of the usual Alex defensive frailties to get clear on goal but his shot was fired just a foot or so wide of Phillips's left hand post.
The best Alex fans got treated to in the second half was Harry Worley's 30 yard thunderbolt that whistled just over the cross bar.
In the end it was job done, a professional win. We got our goals and then sat back, perhaps a little frustrating for us fans but you won't win Dario over who would no doubt argue that we risked the goal difference column by going all out attack in the second half.
Post match Dario gave his reaction, admitting that his side were poor for the second half but is happy with the win, speaking to crewealex.net:
'I am a happy man to see us win again and I enjoyed the last 10 minutes because I thought we were safe then.
'We scored three goals and it could have been more. Calvin hit the bar early on and I was worried that it was going to be one of those days. Darlington didn't play well in the first half. We were getting in behind them too easily and created a lot of chances.'
Meanwhile Darlington manager Steve Staunton was far from happy with his side's first half performance, saying he'd have made more than three half time changes if he could have done:
"We didn`t turn up until the second half. The first half performance was diabolical. Everything that could go wrong did go wrong.
"I made three changes at half-time and if I was allowed more substitutes, I would have used them.'
Date:Sunday January 24 2010
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Crewe to assess striker (Thursday November 20 2014)
Skipper may return (Thursday November 20 2014)
Cup dream over for Crewe (Tuesday November 18 2014)
Davis disappointed in defeat (Tuesday November 18 2014)
Stats: Sheffield United v Crewe Alex (Tuesday November 18 2014)
Crewe consider defender (Tuesday November 18 2014)
Alex face Blades test (Tuesday November 18 2014)
Loan decisions for Crewe (Monday November 17 2014)
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