Crewe 5-0 Grimsby: Eight Things We Learnt

dagnall

Dagnall fires home – skysports.com

First half braces from George Cooper and Chris Dagnall, along with a late goal from Callum Cooke saw Crewe Alexandra record a 5-0 demolition of Grimsby Town. But what have we learnt from the game?

Artell’s bold claim vindicated

Ahead of the game, Crewe boss David Artell argued that his side had better technical players than those of Grimsby, despite them being 11 points behind at the time. His seemingly dubious comments rang true on Saturday, with the Railwaymen far more capable in the final third.

Grimsby’s right flank exposed

The clever movement of forwards Chris Dagnall and Jordan Bowery forced Grimsby’s midfielders to congest the left side. Crewe then switched play incisively and this saw George Cooper gain acres of space on the other flank, in behind Grimsby’s advanced right-wing back, Ben Davies. The visiting three-man defence of Gavin Gunning, Danny Collins and Shaun Pearson was often too slow to close down. Cooper took advantage, slotting past James McKeown from a tight angle after some good work from Cooke.

Crewe’s first half flurry

Crewe took control after the second goal when Dagnall smashed home from close range, before he was brought down and Cooper superbly converted the free-kick. The duo were involved again for the fourth when Dagnall grabbed his second, after Bowery flicked on Cooper’s delivery. Every time the Railwaymen came forward, they looked a threat.

Grimsby’s better spells

Between Crewe’s first and second first half goals – and for 15 minutes at the start of the second half – Grimsby had spells of prominence. In those periods they won more second balls and retained possession better. Jamey Osborne was an occasional bright spark and his two long range shots represented Town’s best first half efforts, before Awasi Asante squandered two good second half chances within 30 seconds. Asante and Sam Jones harried centre-backs George Ray and Ben Nugent more than the players they replaced, Adi Yusuff and Callum Dyson, had done in the first half. Fellow mid-game arrival Tom Bolarinwa did not have an end product, but at least looked lively and chased the ball, which is more than can be said of others.

Grimsby must be more incisive

When Crewe gained midfield control, they attacked the final third without fear. When Grimsby did, they were too slow to get the ball out wide, cross it or shoot and had they been more opportunistic in good areas, they might have grabbed a goal or two. The fact that the team’s second half control lasted only 15 minutes should not be blamed on the added forwards, but instead on the midfield that did not support their pressing.

Hollands was quietly effective

Grimsby’s lack of productivity during their better spells owes much to the contribution of Danny Hollands, who tidily patrolled proceedings in midfield. The ex-Chelsea trainee was disciplined throughout and filled in any gaps in front of the defence, something the visitors lacked.

Ainley shines

Substitute Callum Ainley took his chance to shine from the bench, winning free-kicks, constantly taking on defenders. Grimsby fans had the humour to sing ‘0-0 in the second half’, but even that dubious achievement would be taken away from them. After Ainley’s 87th minute raid of Collins, the winger surged forward and pulled the ball back for Cooke to fire home a fifth for Alex.

Bignot converses with disgruntled fans

After the final whistle, Grimsby manager Marcus Bignot took his team talk on the pitch as a way of getting his players to feel the wrath of the visiting fans. He then apologized to them for the team’s performance and pledged to solve the problems in the next game, which comes against in-form Mansfield Town. On today’s evidence, claiming 13th place Mariners to have a better team than the seventh place Stags would be a positive start.