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Crewe Second Half
By: Tony Butcher
NO CHANGES were made by either side at half time. For the first five minutes it was a replica of the first half. Town were hopeless and Crewe kept getting offside (which was a good indicator that the back four were becoming organised and at ease with each other). Then Town stepped up a gear.
Grimsby Town 1 Crewe Alexandra 0
11 Aug 2001, Nationwide League Division 1
A break and a couple of neat flicks saw Rowan sent free on the left of the Crewe area, near the bye line. He crossed towards the far post with Burnett and Pouton steaming in, and the ball was flicked just above Burnett. |
Pouton retreated and chipped the ball back, first time towards the centre of the goal, 25 yards out, the ball fell to Campbell who stepped to his left and smashed in a drive towards the right hand corner of the gaol, about 3 foot above the ground. Bankole stretched to his right and parried spectacularly, punching the ball sideways. Rowan followed up and crossed low across the face of the goal whereupon BURNETTsauntered in and tapped the ball in from at least 2 feet out, on the left of the goal. And the crowd went wild, many noting that the goal came from someone only on the pitch by accident.
A couple of minutes later Crewe almost scored. A free kick from the Town right was headed back across goal, then back towards the top right of Coyne's goal. Coyne sprinted across goal, arched his back and seemed to tip the ball off the line. The ball hung around near the goal-line and someone cleared it off the line and Campbell completed the clearance with a bicycle kick.
Town's response was almost sublime. Rowan and Jevons exchanged passes and Rowan, with his back to goal, sent Jevons free with a super cushioned flick, about 35 yards out to the right of goal (getting a whack on the ankles as a result). Jevons advanced on goal with only Bankole to beat, but dallied for too long and a defender slid across, whacking the ball away and upending both Jevons and Bankole.
We now entered a pleasant and exciting period of play. Town were finding spaces down the flanks and were playing briskly on the counter attack.
Burnett rather wasted one period of possession and pressure by hitting a shot from 20 yards way over the bar. As was observed in the Pontoon there was only one place that ball was going. Seat H42.
Pouton, surging free down the right crossed deeply towards Campbell, who stepped inside the full back and hit a low cross towards the onrushing Burnett, about 8 yards out. The ball was a little bit behind Burnett and he tried to replicate his golden goal, but only managed to volley it a yard or so over the bar. Butterfield swept forward majestically from left back, going fully 60 yards down the wing before laying a short, incisive pass to Jevons, unmarked about 15 yards out just to the right of goal. Jevons swayed to his left, selling a Gazza-like dummy to the centre half (who fell over), thus dragging the ball back to his right foot with a large target in front of him. He scuffed his shot straight to the large target, Mr Bankole. Poor finish.
Much to the dismay of the crowd, Rowan was replaced with 25 or so minutes to go by Iron Mike Jeffrey, who was greeted by a small sub-section of the Pontoon singing "Bungle for England". This inspired Jeffrey into a 30 minute cameo of Murray Jones proportions. Our attacking intent virtually died from the moment he stepped on the pitch. Poor Iron Mike, he tried so hard too.
Just after Jeffrey came on Pouton brought the crowd to it's feet with a rampaging cavalier assault down the right. Coyne bowled the ball out quickly to Pouton, about 35 yards out near the touch-line. Pouton flicked the ball over his head, surged forward and took a return pass near the half way line.
He then went straight into a huge hole in the Crewe defence, bearing down on goal. After 40 yards, at the edge of the area, with only Bankole to beat he tried to show off by bending the ball into the far corner with the outside of his right boot. Though not as wide as Geoff Thomas's infamous shot against France (Pouton's missed by a yard or so) the effect was the same. Awful end to an audacious raid. And Beharall headed tamely wide from a Willems free kick on the left. And that was the Town efforts.
As per usual Town sat back and we had to endure a tense last quarter if an hour. Crewe threw on a couple more forwards and piled forward. This generally meant they put more crosses into the box. There were a couple of hairy moments when crosses seemed to go through a large number of bodies (on both occasions Butterfield was on hand to deal with the danger).
The two times Coyne was required to be Champion of the World were both self inflicted. Firstly McDermott passed back to Coyne, failing to notice a Crewe player in the way. The Crewe forward took the ball past Coyne, but Danny Boy ushered him towards the bye-line and blocked the shot for a corner. About 5 minutes from the end a corner was half cleared and the ball was headed back into the centre of the penalty area as everyone rushed out. Three Crewe players were unmarked just inside the Town area. One of them stretched forward and did a poke volley to Coyne's right. Another mundane world class save from the Welsh wonderboy, parrying away.
Apart from these two saves, a mix-up with Beharall which the resulted Beharall heading sideways and clearing, a cross which floated towards the top corner courtesy of the erratic wind, and a couple of inswinging corners from the left, Coyne was untroubled.
3 minutes were added by the referee, most of which was taken up by Pouton wasting time in the corner between the Main Stand and Pontoon, showing off a dazzling array of tricks. And 3 points to Town.
Generally there was a lot to be worried about at the beginning. Gallimore looked to be having what may delicately described as a charabanc day. Beharall was lost at the start, understandable given the lack of assimilation. As the first half wore on he and Groves started to work as a unit and one never felt he was about to make a mistake. He has some pace and doesn't seem to have Enhua like losses of concentration. He also seems to have perfected the art of running the ball out of play with his shins, which sets professionals apart from mere amateurs.
Butterfield and Willems were an uncomfortable pairing, with Willems seeming slow and unable to stamp any authority on the game. He wasn't even able to get his name stamped in the referee's notebook. Willems became a major factor in the game the longer it went (and after Burnett came on).
Campbell played exceedingly well in spurts and Pouton had a poor first half, though improved after the break. Jevons looked lightweight and slow, not liking high balls or those boring old "channel balls" over the top to chase. He much preferred close interplay with the impressive Rowan. Simply easiest to say - Rowan was good. Movement, determination, some trickery in the box. All the post match comments around the ground about Jevons avoided any direct criticism about his present form. There's a lot of hope hanging around his shoulders.
Ah, Mr Butterfield. What an interesting performance. He was okay in midfeild, doing a couple of Burnett-like distributions to spread play, but he doesn't look comfortable there (and this seems to transmit to his team-mates). He played very well at left back. There were many asides in the post match throng that we hope Galli's injury is relatively long term. You may think that unfair, but everyone is much happier with Butterfield playing at full back. The team retained some defensive and offensive shape with him at the back.
Perhaps Lawrence is a lucky manager. The change in personnel was forced on him and it transformed the game. And the goalscorer wouldn't have been on the pitch if Galli hadn't got injured.
Don't get carried away, these were two mundane teams. Town were a bit less mundane (and had more players fit)
Nicko's Man of the Match
Difficult one. Groves was exemplary, Rowan lively and dangerous, and Campbell influential at times. However, for his all round performance I think Jogging Danny B is "da man". Jack was a peripheral figure once Butterfield marked him. And thereafter Crewe were not a threat. There, that surprised you, didn't it.
The referee was Mr Trevor Parkes. Oddly, he took agin Rowan, penalising him for being pushed and shoved. He also ignored a couple of half decent penalty appeals when Rowan was pushed over in the box. He was strangely benevolent in failing to book anyone, even Willems. Towards the end of the game he started to call play back for non-advantage to Town, several seconds after the offence. This was good, but unusual to say the least. Overall, not too bad, if a little soft.
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