Play-Off Hopes Fade Away At Moss Rose
Any faint hopes of a surge into the play-offs were extinguished with a 1-0 defeat at Macclesfield last night.
It was the seventh straight defeat on the road, leaving a clear eight point gap and five teams separating us from the coveted seventh spot.
With twelve games remaining and two games in hand over seventh placed Gillingham, a late jump into the play-off spots doesn`t seem to be an impossible task but last night provided the type of performance that shouldn`t be seen from a play-off contender.
After Saturday`s tale of everything goal wards finding the back of the net, it was the polar opposite last night as the Alex and Clayton Donaldson in particular failed to get the ball over the line despite a host of glorious chances.
In truth, it was a dreadful game between two poor sides who were more than happy to hoof the ball from one end to the other. Despite a decent pitch to get the ball down and play the majority of possession was competed for in the air. The subdued 1,485 attendance just added to the non-league feel of the game.
The first half, or indeed game, was summed up for us mid-way through; Donaldson clear on goal only to over work it and eventually lose out to defender and goalkeeper, the first of many squandered chances.
Most of those chances were to come in the second half, a half that saw a brighter Crewe even if still lacking any real quality whilst Macclesfield, 1-0 up by half time, were happy to see the game out with various time wasting techniques put into play. Shelley was brought on at half time to replace the awol Byron Moore and he signaled our intentions (and nothing but intentions) firing a fierce shot from 25 yards whiskers past the up right.
When Donaldson was brought down in the box as he broke through on goal there was muted celebration when the referee pointed to the spot as fans knew what was to come - another missed penalty. Placed perfectly for the keeper as long as he guessed right, apparently it was out seventh penalty miss of the season. We must be now well into double figures of missed penalties over the course of the past 24 months.
Donaldson then failed to capitalise on a spillage from the goalkeeper from 8 yards out and misery was compounded on the stroke of full time when Ashley Westwood (the young`un) broke free on goal and choked, firing straight into the chest of the on rushing keeper.
In contrast, Macclesfield seemed to have one decent chance throughout the match and left with the three points after Artell got in a muddle on the edge of the area and handed Draper a unmissable chance just minutes before half time.
The Railwaymen left the pitch to a chorus of jeers from an angry traveling band of support, the poor quality of football, lack of crowd and atmosphere and a ground is disrepair hitting home just what we could look forward to if the club doesn`t start moving in the right direction soon.
The host of chances and the fact we should have won comfortably suggests it was just one unlucky night for the Alex but summed up simply; it was a game befitting of the wrong end of League Two and still we lost.