On the back of their convincing 4-0 cup win against MBNA last Saturday, Crewe hosted Linotype Cheadle in their next league game. Also notable from the victory was captain Nathan Southern equalling the scoring record with his 122nd goal for Crewe. With Danny Massey overseeing the game, a change in formation and Southern eying up the chance to get his name in the history books, it was looking to be an interesting afternoon of football. Cheadle got the game underway, but a sloppy pass fell the way of Jake Maunder who lobbed a throughball over the defence, Southern latched onto it and calmly dinked the ball over the keeper. 12 seconds into the game and Crewe had the lead, and Southern had his record breaking goal. No messing around building the suspense, 1-0 with less than a minute gone. Southern had a chance to double Crewe’s lead when he was teed up by Kieran O’Connor, but a flying block by a Cheadle defender denied his effort. Some good link up play between Derice Richards and Josh Ruane played in Derice but the ball was just a little to long for the forward and the keeper collected. In the 11th minute quick feet by Derice opened up space for him to play in Maunder but his shot trickled wide of the far post past the sprawling keeper. A great last ditch tackle by Jack Gater in the 15th minute denied the away striker who was bearing down on goal. Ruane’s delivery from a deep freekick found a rising JJ Bailey who directed his backwards header goalwards but straight into the keeper’s arms. Ruane did pick up his assist however in the 25th minute when his whipped cross after a Maunder layoff was volleyed in by defender Connor Alcock for his second goal in two games. 2-0 and Crewe controlling the game. When Cheadle did try and threaten the goal it was Harry Ashworth fulfilling his defensive duty who headed an effort off the line following a Cheadle corner. In the 40th minute Nathan Dyer took aim from distance and his bobbling shot almost embarrassed the keeper who just about held on to the bouncing ball. A slow end to a first half that kicked into gear as quickly as possible. A slightly more subdued opening to the second half with Crewe being caught on the backfoot by a pressing away side. Crewe’s first real chance came in the 52nd minute when Derice controlled a long ball expertly before turning and firing his shot over the bar. Arran Lyon’s was then tested in the Crewe goal when he tipped a dipping long range drive over the bar in the 58th minute. A minute later and confusion as the away team appeared to stop playing as Southern played in Dyer 1 on 1 with the Cheadle defence apparently switching off. Dyer calmly plays on but his shot was turned onto the bar by the away keeper who remained alert to the danger. It was then Arran’s turn to make a good save as he turned a curling effort around his right hand post. The Crewe keeper was then forced into a fantastic point blank save, but the linesman had already raised his flag for offside. Straight from the resulting freekick, Derice again controlled the long ball well, beat his man but the same result as earlier as his shot was just over the bar. In the 82nd minute Ruane pressured the goalkeeper into trying to use his feet and he ultimately opts to lump it out for a throw in, but it eventually fails to create an opportunity. Harry Ashworth’s freekick in the in the 86th minute was just too short for the awaiting defenders to latch on to. The final chance of the half fell to substitute Sam Roberts whose fizzing shot from 25 yards was just over the crossbar with the keeper rooted to the spot. The referee blew the final whistle, Crewe claimed the points and Southern claimed the record. A solid performance from all involved, who did well to gain the lead and to maintain it. It also goes without saying a massive congratulations to Southern on goal 123.
3 POINTS, 12 SECONDS, AND 123 GOALS; CREWE'S SATURDAY IN NUMBERS