Ryan’s return is right on time
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.”
CREWE CUT: Lauri Dalla Valle of Crewe Alexandra scores the visitors’ first goal
Colclough WELL DONE: Davis and