Another Three Points
A bullish Northampton Town side tried and failed to break down a resolute Alex side as we once again collected all three points. We're now six games unbeaten, 5 wins and one draw, with four clean sheets... who'd have ever thought we'd be saying that after being trounced by Southend in October?
Steve Holland made just one change to the side that beat MK Dons, and that was the forced withdrawl of Simon Church, who was on U-21 duty, and he was replaced by the latest loanee Baseya.
Baseya, to put it politely, didn't have the greatest of games. A poor first touch, poor passing and his lack of jumping for headers really showed. Perhaps harsh considering he was only signed 24 hours before kick off, but when he looks poor doing the simple things then it can't exactly be glossed over.
That's not to say that he deserved an elbow in the back of the head though, something he certainly got from well known thug Guy Branston in the first half. Somehow this led to Northampton fans call for Baseya to be sent off, even more unbelievable was that Baseya was penalised for being elbowed in the back of the head!
It wasn't long before well known thug Guy Branston was booked, this time for a disgraceful tackle on Byron Moore that sent the youngster flying. Thug Branston, almost an ultimate journey man with 12 different clubs to his name, somehow tried to claim it was a fair challenge.
Performance wise Crewe had the better of the first half. Northampton showed nothing to trouble us and it was only a matter of creating chances to win the game in the first half. Unfortunately chances weren't forthcoming, one problem was the ball not sticking up front due to Baseya's awful first touch.
Our best chance came from the unlikely source of Julien Baudet. The centre back, who was phenomenal throughout, fired a 35 yard free kick right onto the cross bar. If it had been an inch lower we would have found League One goal of the season there and then. The Northampton keeper was rooted to the spot.
Our only other real chance of the half was actually a half-chance. When Gary Roberts broke free inside the area towards the byline he pulled it back across goal for Byron Moore, who clearly wasn't anticipating the ball and allowed Northampton to recover.
Northampton improved in the second half but their play was still rather predictable and their many long balls and crosses were comfortably dealt with by Ben Williams, Baudet and McCready. Steve Holland however will argue that Danny Woodards and Billy Jones weren't protecting the wings well enough.
The first chance of the second half fell to the Cobblers, and for many it looked a certain goal when Colin Larkin beat the offside trap to go one-on-one with Ben Williams. Somehow though a world class last ditch tackle from Baudet saw the ball stolen from Larkin's feet.
The Alex followed this warning sign with a bit of pressure and it was that bit of pressure which paid off. A bit of a hopeful punt upfield was half headed clear by the Northampton centre back, but that didn't stop Ryan Lowe hitting a superb volley into the bottom right corner from 20-25 yards.
From that point on it was clear of Steve Holland's tactic. Defend. Defend. Defend.
The Alex sat back and the defence got deeper with every passing minute as Northampton piled on the pressure. The defence dealt with it admirably, and received some hlp from giant Mat Bailey late on who made some fantastic clearing headers.
It was in the last 5-10 minutes that Northampton may have felt they deserved something. They slammed on against the post before a penalty are scramble resulted in a fantastic save from Ben Williams in goal.
However, despite the referee's best attempts at finding Northampton an equaliser, his 5+ minutes of injury time wasn't enough for Northampton.
Crewe now go to Forest brimming with confidence. Two points off the play-off places and THE form team of the division. It'd be hard to bet against us doing something this season. We are picking up points without excelling ourselves and they all say that's a sign of a good team.
Credit has to go to GBH for the recent form. After defeats against Southend and Bournemouth the season looked destined to be a relegation scrap. However, hard work and a couple of fantastic signings has really turned it around.
Steve Holland has really shown his qualities as both a MANAGER and a COACH this month and whatever the result next week, he truly deserves the division's Manager of the Month.