Crewe FC made the winding journey to Whaley Bridge on Saturday for a top end of the table clash. Following their goal-fest against Poynton last Saturday, Crewe were determined not to let the lingering rain clouds or nauseating journey, in the case of Dave Griffin, disrupt their good run of form. However with the rain spiralling down and a resolute Whaley Bridge team in their way it would be a tough challenge for the Crewe lads. Whaley Bridge got the game underway but it was Crewe who applied the early pressure, forcing the first chance in the 3rd minute when JJ Bailey headed over the bar from a Josh Ruane freekick. Nathan Southern then chanced his arm, deftly turning his marker and hitting a dipping shot from distance but it was straight at the keeper who clung on to the ball. The game then became rather scrappy, with the players also having to contend with pitch which was certainly hampering the play from both teams. However in the 15th minute Crewe found the breakthrough. A Connor Alcock throw in was flicked on by JJ Bailey to the feet of Jake Maunder who thumps it into the top of the net from the penalty spot. 1-0 to Crewe but there was still a long way to go. Three minutes later, and an unlucky bounce proved to be Crewe’s undoing as a long ball ricocheted off a Crewe player, and with Arran Lyons caught in no-man’s land, a Whaley Bridge player hit an opportunistic shot into the empty net. It wasn’t level for long as three minutes later, Crewe conceded a penalty. Despite Arran going the right way, the penalty was just too well placed into the corner and Whaley Bridge took the lead. In the 28th minute Derice Richards fired a freekick over the bar following a foul on Harry Ashworth. Another chance went begging when Josh Ruane whipped in a freekick, JJ Bailey couldn’t direct his header on target and the ball went narrowly over the bar. With Crewe unable to capitalise, Whaley Bridge took their chance in the 36th minute, when having a beaten a number of players, a thumping shot cannoned off the Crewe bar, but bounced back over the line off a desperately unlucky Arran, who had already dived for the shot. Crewe stoically fought on to find a way back into the game, and two minutes later Nathan Dyer's cross/shot stung the opposition keeper’s palms. The final chance for Crewe fell to Josh Ruane who fired a long range effort over the bar to bring the half to an end with Crewe trailing 3-1. Crewe kicked off the second half, but found the opening ten minutes tough as the rain continued spiral down. It took ten minutes for the first clear opportunity to materialise. A Derice cross was flicked goalwards by Southern but the keeper was there to meet it. Two minutes later some dogged pressing by Ian Carr inadvertently directs the ball back to the opposition keeper who only just stopped the ball from bobbling over his foot and into the net and turned it out for a corner. From the resulting corner a sweetly struck Jake Maunder volley looked to be arrowing in, but a brave block diverted it away. In the 61st minute, Derice teed up Southern who turned and looped a shot over the flummoxed keeper but his shot rippled on the top of the net. It was then Derice who came close when he headed wide from an excellent whipped cross from the right by Nathan Dyer. The missed chances ultimately came back to haunt Crewe as Whaley Bridge find a way through the defence and fired in from inside the box relatively unchallenged to bring the score to 4-1. Crewe kept going, and two minutes later only a great save denied JJ Bailey from a Harry Ashworth freekick. Nathan Dyer’s fierce strike less than a minute later was this time turned wide by a defender. The newly introduced Tristan Sword then picked out Derice who laid the ball off to Ashworth but his shot was blocked for a corner. Ashworth’s whipped corner was met acrobatically by Dave Griffin, but an opposition player blocked the goalbound effort, and Southern’s effort on the rebound was also swiftly closed down blocked. With Crewe throwing everything forward, it was almost inevitable that Whaley Bridge would counter and only fantastic one-on-one save by Arran prevented them from extending their lead in the 81st minute. Two offside flags in five minutes halted Ashworth’s and Southern’s runs prematurely with both bearing down on goal. In the final minute of the game a long throw in for Crewe caused chaos in a congested penalty box, and a combination of Southern and Ashworth were simply unable to shunt the ball over the line. The ref duly blew for full time, and Crewe were ruing their missed chances. 4-1 the final score. Not a pretty game to watch, but full credit to both Crewe who continued to fight in the tough conditions despite being behind, and Whaley Bridge who stuck to their game plan diligently. After the game Manager Andy Aspinall gave his thoughts on the game. “We didn’t play to the levels that we could. We went one-nil up, and deservedly so, we probably commanded the first 20 minutes of the game, and then there’s a little bit of bad luck. A poor deflection, a soft penalty, and a ball that hits the bar comes back and hits the keeper and goes in, we’ve been done by a bit of hard luck today. But September’s been good to us, we’ve played well throughout the month. We’ve picked up some good results and some good points. This maybe is a bit of a reality check today but we’ll go again next week.”


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