Crewe went into the first game of the season on their travels for the first time in 8 seasons. First up was a tough trip to League 2 new boys Swindon Town, under the stewardship of new boss Paulo Di Canio. Swindon had been relegated from League 1 in 2010-11 and appointed the controversial Di Canio in the summer as they looked for an immediate return to the 3rd tier.
Crewe named an almost full strength 11, with Luke Murphy the only notable absentee after only being fit for the bench. Nick Powell started in his place for his first senior league start for Crewe. Harry Davis also made his full senior start at right back.
Both teams made a slow start to the game, but Crewe were the first to test Phil Smith in the Swindon goal as Adam Dugdale headed straight at the keeper and Shaun Miller couldn’t do much better with the rebound.
In the 14th minute Crewe again wasted a decent opening as Powell elected to try and slip in Miller when he should have gone for goal. Matt Ritchie then headed well over as Swindon struggled to get any real momentum going.
Crewe again missed a glorious chance as good work from Powell in the box set up Danny Shelley but he snatched at the shot and it went well over. Shelley again went close with a free kick as Crewe continued to threaten.
As the half drew to a close Michael Timlin forced Phillips into action as his sliced shot almost looped in, but the Crewe keeper made a smart stop to deny him the opening goal.
Then, as the half drew to a close, came the game changing moment. A hopeful punt over the Crewe defence led to Dave Artell getting beaten for pace by Billy Bodin and as the 2 came into contact in the box, Bodin hit the deck and the referee pointed to the spot. The decision seemed harsh, but Artell left a leg in and in doing so made it easier for the referee. Callum Kennedy scored the resulting spot kick to give Swindon an undeserved 1-0 advantage at half time.
The second half started and Crewe went in search of an equaliser. Ritchie again went close for Swindon before Byron Moore say an effort deflect just past the post.
Crewe made a change with the bright Powell moving out to the right wing with Moore moving up front alongside Miller but it was Swindon who took control of the game. After poor attempts by the Crewe defence to clear the ball under pressure, it fell to Swindon captain Oliver Risser on the edge of the box and he hit a superb 25 yard strike into the far corner, leaving Crewe with a mountain to climb.
AJ Leitch-Smith then replaced Shelley for Crewe as they again looked for a consolation. Ashley Westwood hit a tame effort straight at Smith as the game began to slip away from Crewe. Crewe made another change with youngster Max Clayton replacing a frustrated Miller.
But Crewe fell further behind as more poor defending allowed Aden Flint to kill the game off with a close range header that gave Phillips no chance.
Swindon then saw the game out and coasted to their first win under Di Canio and their first home win of 2011. After starting so brightly Crewe faded badly in the second half and Swindon ran out easy winners at the end.
Made a couple of decent saves and could do nothing for any of the goals. Solid. 7/10
Did well out of position. Got forward well but is wasted at left back. 7/10
Didn’t do too badly bar one moment of madness when he tried to dribble the ball out of his 6 yard box and it nearly cost us. 6/10
Gave away a stupid and possibly game changing penalty. Poor. 5/10
At fault for the 2nd and the 3rd, he needs to improve massivley. Poor. 5/10
Did ok in parts but not as effective as he can be. 6/10
Like Westwood, did ok in parts. Faded in the 2nd half.6/10
Missed a glorious chance, invisible in the 2nd half. decent enough performance. 6/10
Bright and energetic. Made several dangerous runs and was unlucky not to score in the 2nd half. 7/10
MOTM. Coped well in the attacking midfield role. Wasted a chance when he passed instead of shooting. Overall very good from the youngster. 8/10
Isolated and frustrated as the lone striker. Badly needs support. 6/10
Anonymous. Barely touched the ball and never got into the game. 5/10
Got caught offside a couple of times and did nothing of note. 5/10
Played well in the 1st half, Powell and Moore looked bright, we’re usually poor on the opening day, created several decent chances.
Heads clearly dropped in the 2nd half, poor defensiveley, Miller looks isolated, 3 avoidable goals conceded, didn’t take our chances.