Reaction: Doncaster 3-1 Crewe
Times at the Alex became increasingly worrying following the 3-1 loss away from home to league leaders Doncaster at the Keepmoat Stadium in David Artells's second game in charge of the club. Artell made 2 changes to the side that lost in their passionate performance at home to Luton last week, those being new-boy Bowery in for Lowe and Dagnall coming in for Kiwomya but despite of this Crewe found themselves behind after just 23 minutes thanks to a goal from Grant, however Crewe found an equaliser just 9 minutes later when James Jones fired in his sixth of the campaign. Doncaster netted twice in the second half to claim all 3 points and to keep their unbeaten home record safe.
The loss meant Crewe dropped a position to 19th, just 5 points away from the relegation zone where Notts County sit in 23rd. The loss also meant that Crewe have only managed to salvage 2 points from their last 9 games whilst only scoring 5 and letting 18 goals past them. Next up for the Alex is a real 6 pointer against Cheltenham at Gresty Road, the Robins sit in 22nd just 4 points behind Crewe.
Manager David Artell was brutally honest in his interview on The Crewe Chronicle after the game saying 'At half time we were full of optimism, but the second half was the same old story. The two goals were criminal and we have to do better. We have to improve or we are in for a long old season. We could see it coming, it was cheap. These are top of the league, rather than capitulating at the first sign of pressure we have to say 'bring it on' and really enjoy that side of defending. Cheltenham will ask questions next week too'
Phil Bedford (@crewealex7) who has been a season ticket holder at the Alex for 22 years said 'Just believe Dave Artell's in charge of probably the biggest 3 months in our history and just needs to put the fight, fitness and passion to survive in place. Can then move onto a huge summer and hopefully adapt better to the modern game.' - I personally agree with Phil as this is most likely the biggest few months the club has ever faced and the players do seem to be lacking the passion and desire to make it a good few months also if the club survive the drop then the club will need a full makeover to kick on and make the next season successful. Josh Ravenscroft (@Josh_CAFC_180) said 'I think the main cause of poor form and poor results is ultimately low confidence. Whether or not what's going on off the pitch has effected the lads I don't know, but as professionals they should be able to deal with it and focus on the football. A win would work wonders, it would regain confidence. Players playing with confidence seem totally different to when they are playing without. However it comes back to the confidence needed, to actually get that one win.' - I agree with Josh as I think even the best manager in the world would struggle to be in Artells's boots right now as it seems Steve Davis has taken all of the passion and confidence from them and it doesnt help when the board remove what they believed to be the problem, yet even now when he's gone the team are struggling which will lead to the players blaming themselves but we know as we've seen glimmers of class this season that the boys can do it and they just need a win to lift them up so they can kick on which will make Artell's job a lot easier.
In my opinion Crewe face one of the biggest weeks in the clubs history as it is the last week that the club can bring fresh faces and the week that they face relegation rivals Cheltenham which is a real six pointer. Harry Davis and Ryan Lowe are both rumoured to be close to leaving the club and both were left out of todays game. If Crewe can offload these two players it should free some budget to hopefully make a few more signings, I think we need another defender as on average in the last 9 games Crewe have let in 2 goals per game. However Crewe could do with some more attacking threat as they are one of the lowest scorers in the league and when you concede a lot but struggle to score, its a recipe for disaster. Although the academy at Crewe is what gives the club its name, it is rumoured that a large amount of budget is spent on keeping it as a category 2 academy and perhaps this money could be spent on bringing in better players as in recent years the academy has struggled to produce any real talent as the current squad seems unfit and some players seem to lack basic footballing skills. However the whole season and the future on the club doesnt all rest on next week, as after that there is 18 games remaining, if Crewe beat Cheltenham they arent safe but if they lose they aren't relegated yet but dont be under any illusions anything can happen between now and May but as fans we just have to back the team, manager and club and just pray that they can achieve success and do what they need to do to remain where they belong, in the football league.