Crewe failed to capatalise on possession against Leyton Orient, failing to hit the target in anger once all game.
The 2-0 scoreline suggests Leyton Orient were comfortable winners but I don’t think too many who were at the match could agree with that. The game saw a good Crewe team comfortable on the ball and in defence, stroking it around like we’ve not seen for a while at Gresty Road.
Orient looked organised though and when they had the ball they used it well. However, chances were few and far beteen for both teams. With the heat, and the lack of pace in the game, it could easily have been mistaken for a pre-season friendly.
There was a glaring weakness in the Alex side though – up front. Chris Dickson made his second appearance since arriving on loan and showed no more than he did last week. His bobbling 20 yard shot wide of the left post in the first half was about as good as it got for Dickson. His strike partner, Tom Pope, didn’t have the best of days neither. He failed in his attempts to bring others into play, instead allowed Orient to recover at the back every time. Twelve, all debtable, offsides summed up the two strikers afternoons.
You always felt that with Crewe’s possession yet lack of goal threat there would be a sting in the tail. It came 10 minutes before half time when a seemingly poor cross caught Ben Williams out. Williams flapped at the looping ball as it squeezed into the top right corner. It was similar to Paul Robinson’s mid-week howler – only Williams didn’t keep it out for someone to tap in.
The second half was pretty much all Crewe and the theme continued. We pressured but nothing was happening. Dickson and Bopp made way for Lowe and Miller, and it made only a slight difference as Miller hurried their defence, but there was still no sign of a goal.
For a good 25 minutes Crewe had Orient penned back without much reward. Orient, typically, had the better chance with a 25 yard Corden shot forcing Williams to tip over for a corner.
Crewe’s best, and arguably only, chance of the game came on the break when Gary Roberts broke clear of the Leyton Orient defence. However, he held onto the ball a second too long as he bore down on goal and allowed a Orient defender to get a foot to the ball when Roberts looked destined to score.
Heads seemed to drop after that, players looking like they knew a goal wouldn’t come if they played till Tuesday. In a typical cruel fashion, the last, unlucky blow was dealt with five minutes remaining. Roberts took down Orient’s Chambers inside the area and the inconsistent ref instantly pointed to the spot. Two-nil.
Crewe fans went home frustrated. Frustrated because it was winnable and the team played well enough to win it, but we just lacked any class up front. Any doubt that we needed a new striker (or two) was well and truly put to bed today. Stats say we had one shot on target – I guess they were counting Shaun Miller’s half-time warm up?
We showed signs of an excellent team though. We were the better side, I don’t think too many could argue with that, and we were playing a good side who will surprise a few with their push for a top half/play-off spot. With a striker or two though, we could do much better.
Lee Barnard is expected to sign any day now, along with a ‘lower league’ striker. If these two can bring creativity and goals then why rule out a promoted push? The midfield and defence are playing as well was we’ve seen in the past 3 years.
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Ben Williams 5/10
Will get a lot of stick for the first goal, but, that aside, he was comfortable with little to do. Claimed a couple of crosses.
Danny Woodards 7/10
Picked up a bit of form we saw last season. Attacked well and defended well.
Danny O’Donnell 6/10
Solid in defence but his distribution was poor.
Julien Baudet 7/10
All round solid from Beast. Can’t really ask for more.
Billy Jones 7/10
Another good performance, and put Orient fans right against his former club. Defended comfortably, although caught out of position once.
Neil Cox 6/10
Slow and indecisive but generally mistake free.
Steven Schumacher 7/10
A quieter game than we’ve seen but did everything he was asked to do.
Gary Roberts 7/10
Another class performance from a class player. Should probably have stuck away his chance.
Eugen Bopp 5/10
Not the greatest from Bopp. Sloppy passing and not very attacking. Lack of match sharpness showed. Played on the left wing when he may be more use in behind the front two, thriving off balls dropping on the edge of the area.
Tom Pope 5/10
Got his head to the ball but is slow in playing the ball. His first touch was poor and doesn’t get into the scoring positions.
Chris Dickson 5/10
Did very little.
Shaun Miller 6/10
Added a bit of energy up front. The linesman had it in for him though and denied him more than one chance on goal.
Ryan Lowe 7/10
Wanted the ball and got stuck in. Created a lot but with no-one to be on the end of it.
Dario told crewealex.net: ‘I didn’t think either side looked like scoring, there weren’t many chances created, it looked like that. We started very well, very bright without play, so that’s a credit to the preparation, they were ready for the game they were up for it.’