Cheltenham 0-1 Crewe
A Harry Davis penalty saw a defiant Crewe snatched 3 points from an in-form Cheltenham Town.
We seem to be finally showing some consistency in the form table, unfortunately for us it's coming in the rather frustrating sequence of L-W-L-W-L-W.
Saturday's defeat summed up the frustration. A performance worthy of at least a point, if not all three, left us with nothing after Macc took the points with just about their only shot of the match.
What goes around comes around, I suppose. Last night's trip to Cheltenham saw us do the smash-and-grab whilst the home team rue more than a handful of missed chances.
A game at Cheltenham was never going to be easy. They had won their last five and sat third in the table, but when The Alex are involved there absolutely no telling where the direction of the points.
Cheltenham certainly looked a decent team. They were the ones you'd have lumped money on to score, particularly in the first half. It goes without saying that Steve Phillips was once again needed to bail us out on several occasions in the first half with two or three fantastic finger tip saves as Cheltenham took pot shots from the edge of the area.
Despite Cheltenham bringing out Phillips' usual quality, we were certainly never out of it. Nick Powell, Byron Moore and Luke Murphy were influential going forward but we did struggle to find the killer blow, with Shaun Miller once again looking for a shadow of his usual self.
Powell was, as seems to be a recurring theme these days, coming up with our better play but his 30 yard free kick was just a little too comfortable for the goalkeeper.
At half time you got the feeling the more the match wore on the more likely we were going to nick it but it took less than 10 mins for us to get the 'surprise' break through.
After a brief period of pressure inside the Cheltenham box, Luke Murphy was tripped as he made his was to the byline just inside the box. Cheltenham fans and maybe the neutrals would call it a harsh decision but it was no less welcome and, considering the poor refereeing standard for the night, not at all surprising.
Usual penalty taking suspects Shaun Miller and Lee Bell stood aside to let young Harry Davis take the glory. Davis had already netted a calm pen in the JPT shoot out at Bury this season and he dispatched his Whaddon Road spot kick with the same calmness and composure, low to the keepers right.
There was now only one thing for the Alex to do, hold on to the 0-1 lead for some 35 minutes. We've been there so many times before and it usually results in us throwing the lad away. It was a long, long 35 minutes.
Cheltenham immediately looked to get level and so balls pinged into the box. Dario started to batten the hatches by replacing Miller with Shelley, leaving Moore to do a superb job as the lone striker in collecting the ball and going on the counter.
After a quiet first half, Antoni Sarcevic also awoke to really cause Cheltenham a bit of trouble down the wing. Between Sarcevic, Moore and Powell, there were chances aplenty to extend the lead.
Perhaps our best chance fell to Moore when he got in behind the defence on goal. Unfortunately he dithered too long over taking a shot and allowed a last ditch tackle to be made. Shouts for a second penalty were more in hope than anything.
As the game entered the last 10 minutes Cheltenham ramped up the pressure. Phillips was forced to push one over the bar, the back four threw themselves at every Cheltenham shot, the ball fizzled across the face of goal and Harry Davis got everyone's hearts in their mouths with a clearance that just about brushed Steve Phillips' left hand post.
It was dramatic but we held on. Just about. The players were just as delighted as fans at the whistle and it just about made up for a frustrating weekend it.
There is now the matter of halting this incredible run of form in its tracks. So far this month a defeat has followed every win but with a trip to out of form Aldershot, who've lost their last six (ok, one was against Man Utd), on Saturday there is no better chance to buck the trend.
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