Cheltenham Report, Dario Reacts
Despite taking an early lead against Cheltenham Town the Alex fell to their second successive league defeat of the new season. Oh joy.
After the defeat at home to Hereford last week, this weekend's game was vital to kick start the season - especially having caused a cup upset against Derby County in mid week - but after seeing the defence spring more leaks, we now sit in our lowest league position in over 20 years.
The game started brightly enough for ourselves, Patrick Ada's sweet volley into the top corner from a Westwood corner inside five minutes set up the game nicely. As ever with Crewe though, we failed to take the game by the scruff of the neck instead found ourselves increasingly under the cosh.
After troubling Taylor a couple of times the Robins finally found their somewhat deserved equaliser, a poorly cleared free kick was eventually turned in by Wesley Thomas on the rebound after Smikle's intial shot.
Whilst Cheltenham continued to push, we too were looking to restore our lead. One of the more controversial moments of the match came from an Alex attack when a run from youngster Matt Tootle eventually saw the full back felled in the area, the referee however decided to give a free kick on the edge of the area leaving Toots furious.
It was a decision that could have changed the course of the game, with Cheltenham taking the lead just before half time. Wesley Thomas again converting a rebound on the 42nd minute, levying the Railwaymen a tough uphill task in the second half.
Thankfully the second half started as brightly for Crewe as the first half did. Four minutes in and Calvin Zola this time on hand to convert another Westwood set piece.
From that point the game could have gone either way till Cheltenham sealed what was probably a deserved win on the hour mark, Thomas turned provider, crossing for Jeff Goulding to turn and fire past loanee keeper Taylor in the Alex net.
Chasing the game, Westwood, Zola and Donaldson all spurned chances as Cheltenham were more than happy to sit and see balls punted up field to the likes of Zola and Donaldson. Dario threw on 16 year old Nick Powell with 5 minutes to go for some strange reason, obviously with no effect.
The defeat puts Crewe in 23rd with only Lincoln keeping us company on zero points in League Two. It is yet another new low for the Alex - our lowest position in 23 years in fact, not since the days of Geoff Thomas and David Platt have the Alex been standing atop the non-league trap door.
Thankfully there are a good 44 league games remaining (47 if we're successful in the play-offs......... What?) so for Dario league position is of no concern - but then again, when has it ever been? - instead DG says he was happy with the effort even if players let their heads drop.
Speaking to CreweAlex.net, the club's official website, Dario said:
'The lads will be disappointed that they didn't end up getting something from the game but the way Cheltenham started I thought they would go on to score 10. We were not in the game and were finding it hard to cope with their forward players and Brian Smikle. I was impressed with Chelteham especially in the first half.
'We came into a bit more before half time and then scored again early in the second half. We were threatening to score an equaliser right up until the end and hit the post, so I cannot complain about the effort from the players.
'We have to learn from games like these ones and not let our heads drop because we have lost by the odd goal in both games.'
And so there you have it. Wise words from Dario, it's just a slight shame that they are wise words he has been peddling for some years now.
When are we going to learn? When will the defence be able to cope?
There was some optimism coming into the new season, as always, but that has soon vanished. Now it seems like we're facing same old, same old. The questions are this...
Is it too early to start whinging?
If not, is there any point? Will anything ever change at Gresty Road?
Answers on a post card. Or alternatively in the Vital Crewe forum.
And get ready for a long, hard and very stressful season.