Perhaps 2010 is going to be a better year than 2009 and indeed 2008 (full details as to why are available if you ask me).
Due to injuries, in particular those to defenders, and Wally's stupid sending off at Aldershot, rarely has a nickname been more appropriate, the League allowed us an emergency loan. The only other one this season was before my previous match report against Morecambe when Marec Stech was the unfortunate victim. This time we were able to obtain the services of a known and quality player in Rhoys Wiggins (we did not have a chance to see if Stech was any good). It is understood that he was only too willing to rejoin us and as he is out of favour at Norwich who knows what might happen at the end of the season in the unlikely event that our transfer embargo is lifted.
Rhoys slotted seamlessly in at left back and Danny played wide left so it was a powerful midfield with Bartley and Robinson playing centrally. Much to everyone's surprise we started brightly and had much the better of the early exchanges with both Pitman and Feeney having attempts blocked. Quite deservedly we took the lead in the 22nd minute. Bradbury, who was up for a set piece, had a header blocked for a corner and from this Wiggins and Pitman (why is he not in the middle) worked a short corner routine which saw Brett send in a lovely cross. This was met by Fletch who powered in a header (not often that we can say this) and the net bulged. We remained on top and Brett had an imaginative try at goal go close. But Crewe started to get a hold of the match as the half wore on but with little effect although the always buzzing Grant had an attempt well dealt with by Schwan and he produced an even better save to deny Zola after a good run by the Crewe striker. One up at half time was a true reflection of the first half.
The start of the second half failed to live up to the standard of the first but enlivened in the 63rd minute. Pearce launched a long free kick into the box where Fletch flicked it on for Pitman to get to the ball first and get in a shot although off balance. Crewe's veteran 'keeper Phillips could only parry the ball and Robinson sprinted onto the loose ball to slot home our second. As often happens we were keen to keep the match interesting and Crewe pulled a goal back within three minutes. Fletch could only head out a free kick as far as Murphy who controlled the ball on his chest before thumping it past Jalal with his left foot. Crewe started to have a real go but made little impression and we looked lively on the break. Despite five added minutes we held on with ease. One bad moment was the injury to Bartley who appeared to damage his calf or ankle in an innocuous looking tangle with Zola. He was replaced by McQuoid whose pace helped with our counter attacks.
This was a good all round team performance and we will need to have many of these to maintain our push for promotion and further upset the Football League, get those two fingers into great shape. Man of the match goes to Rhoys Wiggins as he looked as if he had never been away and contributed a lot to the win.
A cheerful trip home in dribs and drabs as we (the rail travelling Exiles) had managed to book ourselves on different trains. Fortunately the team were thankfully more organised!
AFCB: Jalal, Bradbury, Garry, Pearce, Wiggins, Bartley, Robinson, Hollands, Feeney, Fletcher, Pitman
Subs: Thomas, Connell, Goulding, McQuoid (on for Bartley, 81mins)
Phil Nesbitt, Acocks Green