Ryan’s re­turn is right on time

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE ONE - By Aaron Bower

RYAN Col­clough was Crewe’s saviour as he climbed off the bench to snatch the Rail­way­men three vi­tal points – and boss Steve Davis is con­fi­dent there is more to come from his in­jury-hit front man.

Col­clough marked his first com­pet­i­tive ap­pear­ance for 16 months with an in­cred­i­ble in­jury­time strike as the vis­i­tors moved two points clear of the rel­e­ga­tion zone with a cru­cial win, against a United side who are rid­ing high in League One.

Plagued with in­jury prob­lems that have kept him out of the side for well over a year, Davis in­sisted that Col­clough’s mo­ment of magic was no less than he de­served af­ter com­plet­ing his long road back to full fit­ness.

“It was an ab­so­lutely in­cred­i­ble strike,” said Davis.

“He’s just come back from 16 months out, so if he can do that with so lit­tle train­ing it bodes well for him. I’m glad he’s still got that con­fi­dence and swag­ger about him, be­cause I think you need that as a foot­baller.

“I want all the play­ers to be like that, es­pe­cially com­ing to th­ese places. He’s back now; he’s played a few games in the U21s and he’s been a lit­tle stiff af­ter those matches.

“How­ever, we’ve took care with him and I had no hes­i­ta­tion in putting him on, be­cause I knew he could do some­thing for us.

“We’ve had some tough games in the last few weeks, but we wanted to attack them to­day and get bod­ies for­ward. Ul­ti­mately we ended up get­ting our re­ward.”

The home side were ac­tu­ally the team who started the bet­ter, but it was Crewe who took the lead when for­ward Lauri Dalla Valle ri­fled home from six yards af­ter a mag­nif­i­cent piece of in­ter­play on the edge of the area.

United had their chances in the first half to level, but af­ter some sus­tained pres­sure fol­low­ing the restart, they equalised when Jamie Mur­phy freed Ja­son Holt in­side the area, and he fired home past Paul Rachubka to level it up.

That should have been the in­cen­tive for United to kick on and win the game, but in­stead, Crewe snatched all three points at the death thanks to a re­mark­able strike from Col­clough, who cut in­side be­fore fir­ing past Mark Howard to seal a po­ten­tially huge win for the Alex.

The Blades still hold a five­point cush­ion on the chas­ing pack in the League One play-off race, but boss Nigel Clough was left to re­flect on a missed op­por­tu­nity to put some day­light be­tween them­selves and the rest.

“To lose in the man­ner we have done is in­cred­i­bly dis­ap­point­ing,” Clough said.

“The big­gest frus­tra­tion is not putting fur­ther space be­tween our­selves and the teams who are chas­ing those play-off spots.

“We’ve con­ceded two goals at home which is com­pletely in­ex­cus­able, the first in par­tic­u­lar was far too soft for our lik­ing.

“We’ve still got a good cush­ion, and we’ve a great op­por­tu­nity with seven games to go.

“This re­sult means we’ve now got to get a few more points from those games than we’d have liked, but we’ve still got that buf­fer of points.

“Our first pri­or­ity in the com­ing games will be to not lose, be­cause there’s so many teams in that top half that will feel that they’ve got a great chance of mak­ing the play-offs this year.”

PIC­TURES: Ac­tion Images

CREWE CUT: Lauri Dalla Valle of Crewe Alexan­dra scores the vis­i­tors’ first goal

Col­clough WELL DONE: Davis and

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