It's Good To Be An Alex Fan Again
As Alex fans, it's been a long time since we had hope but after yesterday could we be on the long road back to recovery after a dreadful few years?
It was certainly a return of the good old days at Gresty Road yesterday. A superb performance, a clean sheet and the three points, all against one of the better sides of the division in Bury.
The game, for us, was never in doubt. We ran rampant in the first 20 minutes and saw the rest of the afternoon out in relative comfort.
Shaun Miller, who seems to be finally finding his feet in the team, got us off the mark in the first couple of minutes as he capitalised on poor Bury defending. The ball simply fell into his path just 8 yards out and he planted it in the back of the net.
We could have had two or three by the time David Artell doubled the lead. Artell himself wasted a couple of decent aerial chances whilst Zola typically placed his one-on-one shot straight at the keeper. With the Alex piling so much pressure on the Bury back line it was only a matter of time before they crumbled; crumble they did when Artell made the most of a free header from a corner.
The rest of the first half was played out in comfort the Railwaymen. Bury had more possession but it was all a little too easy for Artell and Ada at the back whilst Rhys Taylor plucked any half decent cross out of the air.
The Shakers had a bit more about them after the break though actual goalscoring chances were non-existent. And just incase Bury had any thoughts of getting back into the game, former Alex midfielder Steven Schumacher put them to bed. A lunge of a tackle on Calvin Zola gave the referee no option but to show him a second yellow followed by a red.
Crewe took the extra man advantage with pleasure and less than 10 minutes later Luke Murphy sealed the three points. A thunderbolt from the right of the penalty area into the top left corner was the signal for a mass evacuation of the away end.
It could, probably should, have been four moments later after Nick Powell, a 70th minute substitute, was felled after a run into the Bury penalty area. Clayton Donaldson took the resulting penalty and fluffed it when it was perhaps the perfect chance for Powell to get off the mark.
The win was done and dusted though and what a fantastic win it was!
It was a great performance from every player. The transformation from last season has been immense so far, new signings David Artell and Lee Bell have been integral to that and were particularly impressive.
We no longer look a soft touch in defence, the mistakes have been eradicated. Artell and Ada seem to have been a great partnership at the back whilst Lee Bell has given us back that much needed 'bite' in midfield, he held a lot of it together and was definitely my Man of the Match.
There have been signs so far this season that the team is growing into something really good. We started with a couple of defeats but seem to have grown with every passing match and should probably be as much as five points better off (but that would put us top!).
Now's the time though that we've got to take it to the next level and start getting results week in, week out. We aren't going to win every game, no-one is expecting us to, but we've got to depart from the 'it's still coming together' way of thinking and start putting a good run together.
Today's performance gives me hope that this isn't just another flash in the pan and Dario has worked his magic, the magic we all thought had left him. I don't expect us to run away with the league but I'm pleased I'm not expecting us to be looking at the bottom half all season, and I cannot wait for next Saturday.