A contentious penalty on the hour mark gave Crewe a deserved three points against neighbours Port Vale today.
Up to the hour mark it was a fairly even game with neither keeper being called into much action. The best chance of the half fell to Marc Richards who forced Steve Phillips into a superb save at his near post.
Whilst Vale had the better of the opening exchanges of the match the first half was overall a back and forth affair with both sides getting stuck in in the middle of the field.
The second half started rather drab till it was kicked back into action when Donaldson was felled in the box. After running clear of the defence and getting ready to line up his shot, former Alex target Gareth Owen made a last ditch tackle taking both man and ball.
It was a decision that has infuriated Vale fans (and the BBC match reporter, for some reason) as they felt Owen had won the ball fair and square. You can see their point. Owen won the ball; but as Dario says, a tackle like that is risky, especially if you take the man as well.
We weren’t to give up the penalty though; Shaun Miller stepped up and stuck it away, holding his nerve well having sent his last penalty to France.
The goal spurred us on for the rest of the game. Both Miller and Donaldson could have doubled the lead; Miller with a fantastic mazy run and shot that trickled a couple of inches past the post, and Donaldson with a volley just wide.
Despite feeling the need of a second goal to wrap up the game the nervy last 10 minutes actually provided little action from Vale and three points were gratefully received.
Not so gratefully received was the farewell from Vale fans but that’s not worth the air time, it has no place in football.
After the match Dario gave his rather sensible view of the controversy, telling Radio Stoke and CreweAlex.net:
‘It is not my place to say if it was or wasn’t. My answer is simple to my own defenders. If you are rash in the box, goes to ground and stretches a leg out then the referee always has a chance to give a penalty. Some of them he gives and others he doesn’t and that applies to both penalty boxes.’
On the game itself Dario was pleased to see Miller net the penalty after receiving stick from a section of fans for his miss at Torquay a couple of weeks ago.
‘Shaun kept his cool and I was happy for him to take it, even though he had missed his last one at Torquay.
‘I can never understand why forwards won’t take penalties. It is a chance to score and Shaun wants them.
‘I think Steve Phillips made one and I don’t remember their keeper making too many either, although I thought Shaun had scored again with the run and the one he poked past the post.
‘I am delighted for the defence because we defended well and got a care clean-sheet. That is 8 away wins now and I want to start doing that at home but we are looking better at the back.’
Up the Alex!
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