The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE ONE - By Robert Do­man

TONY Mow­bray paid trib­ute to Coven­try’s on song front four af­ter Adam Arm­strong’s hat-trick con­demned Crewe to the foot of League One with a thump­ing five-goal de­feat.

Ja­cob Mur­phy also scored twice as the Rail­way­men made a hor­ror start to the New Year to leave home fans vent­ing their dis­plea­sure at the full-time whis­tle.

Crewe boss Steve Davis ques­tioned his side’s de­sire af­ter lament­ing the team’s costly mis­takes and ad­mit­ted the lack­lus­tre per­for­mance was painful for both him and his play­ers to take.

“We have won five-nil away from home so I can’t have any com­plaints,” Mow­bray said.

“We started the game as we in­tended and we showed the right in­ten­sity and ruth­less­ness.

“When you have more shots and pos­ses­sion and you dom­i­nate games then you need to take all three points – we have been tak­ing one too of­ten but we talked about it in the week and it has paid div­i­dends.

“The team func­tioned very well and showed a great de­sire. The goal­keeper was on top form when he needed to be and the front four were al­most un­playable.”

Ben Gar­ratt turned Arm­strong’s ninth-minute shot around the post but he was help­less when Arm­strong beat the off­side trap to col­lect Mur­phy’s pass three min­utes later, steer­ing the ball into the far cor­ner with Crewe de­fend­ers trail­ing in his wake.

Ryan Lowe di­verted Mar­cus Haber’s flick on over the bar at the other end be­fore Haber headed straight at Re­ice Charles-Cook from Lowe’s ball in.

But Mur­phy dou­bled City’s lead with a su­perla­tive 25-yard curl­ing ef­fort on 26 min­utes.

Boos rang out around Gresty Road four min­utes later when Arm­strong scored his sec­ond from the spot af­ter James Jones felled Ro­man Vincelot in­side the box.

Jones should have scored for Crewe when he volleyed over from just eight yards out while CharlesCook de­nied Lowe from close range. Arm­strong sealed his hat­trick just be­fore the break, though, when he en­joyed a free run on goal af­ter dis­pos­sess­ing Semi Ajeyi on the touch­line.

The Sky Blues striker should have had a fourth when he slid an easy fin­ish wide early in the sec­ond­half.

Charles-Cook thwarted Jones in a 67th minute one-on-one be­fore making a su­perb save from Lowe’s header with Brad­den In­man then shav­ing the cross­bar.

But Mur­phy thumped in a fifth for the visi­tors to ice the Coven­try cake five min­utes from time while David Fox struck the City post to sum up Crewe’s day late on.

“We lacked de­sire in the first half and we were sec­ond to ev­ery­thing,” Davis ad­mit­ted.

“There was a good at­mos­phere and I ex­pected them to do bet­ter.

“It’s dif­fi­cult to dress things up and hard to take those sorts of de­feats. It cer­tainly hurts me and I know it hurts them.

“We had chances but Coven­try were very clin­i­cal and pun­ished us for our mis­takes. The mis­takes were in­ex­pli­ca­ble, very ba­sic.

“We have got to look at why we keep making them be­cause they will keep cost­ing us and then it’s very dif­fi­cult to get back in the game.”

PIC­TURES: Me­dia Im­age

HAT-TRICK AHOY! Adam Arm­strong scores his sec­ond for Coven­try from the spot

JOY: Ja­cob Mur­phy cel­e­brates



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