Saturday, January 03, 2004

Feeling Alright With The Crewe

Took my first trip up to Gresty Road this afternoon to see my local non-league team Telford United play their third round FA Cup tie away at Division One side Crewe Alexandra. It was a trip more in hope than expectation, as although Telford have a bit of giantkilling in their history, the Alex are more than holding their own in my first team West Ham's division under the experienced stewardship of Dario Gradi.

Luckily, I managed to get into the ground on time for once, as the travelling contingent of 1400 Telford fans were given an early treat with ex-Wolves and Port Vale striker Lee Mills steering a deft flick of a header past the despairing arms of their (impressive) keeper Clayton Ince in only the second minute. Crewe steadily piled on the pressure as the first half wore on, but on the few occasions their wayward shooting found the target they also found Telford keeper Chris Mackenzie in brave, solid form.

Halfway through the second half, the realistic chance of an upset was palpable in the increasingly tense atmosphere as Crewe seemed to completely lose their way and Telford looked as likely to score a decisive second as concede an equaliser. When the Bucks' Chris Murphy hit the post, we wondered whether this would prove costly, but an increasingly woeful Crewe never really looked like taking the tie to a replay, whatever idiotic amount of extra time the ref insisted on allowing.

So, 1-0 to Telford then: a sweet result as, by my reckoning, Crewe are the highest-placed league side they have ever beaten in a cuptie, and the voluble away support provided a terrific atmosphere to boot. So who said the magic of the cup was over? The biggest upset in the FA Cup 3rd Round - and your faithful correspondent, Dead Kenny, was there, reporting from the frontline. Bring on the Man Ure!


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