Poor first-half display frustrates Crewe boss Artell

Dave Artell
Dave Artell

In addition to his outburst at the referee, Crewe Alexandra manager David Artell also expressed deep disappointment with his side’s first-half performance during Saturday’s 2-0 loss against Northampton at the PTS Stadium.

The Alex were fortunate to only be 1-0 down at half-time after their patient passing style was repeatedly disrupted by Town, who pressed high and caused the visitors problems all over the pitch as Andy Williams deservedly gave them the lead.

They didn’t cover themselves in glory but I’m not here to speak about Northampton. We weren’t very good in possession and the amount of times we gave the ball away in good positions, messing up two v one opportunities, was phenomenally high.

Crewe improved in the second-half but they rarely threatened home goalkeeper David Cornell bar one or two long-range attempts, and Daniel Powell’s late second rubber-stamped victory for the Cobblers.

“It wasn’t a good game,” said Artell, who also slammed the performance of referee Scott Oldham. “A young lad makes a mistake and we get punished and then we were chasing it at 1-0 down.

“We only really had a go for 20 minutes in the second-half and then there were two or three stoppages in play and we couldn’t get going again.

“Leading up to their second goal, at that time if there was one team that was going to score it was us, but that was the only period of the whole game where we actually passed the ball to each other.

“I made two subs at half-time when it could have been four or five. I thought we were good for the next 20 minutes and it looked like we could get something from the game, but you can’t play like we did in the first-half.

“We know we’re in a results-based business and failing that, a performance-based business, and the performance wasn’t good enough so we’ve got to improve, especially away from home. We’ve had games where we’ve lost and deserved something from the game, but on Saturday, bar 20 or 25 minutes, we didn’t.

“They didn’t cover themselves in glory but I’m not here to speak about Northampton. We weren’t very good in possession and the amount of times we gave the ball away in good positions, messing up two v one opportunities, was phenomenally high.

“It’s a really disappointing day. There was one instance in the second-half where one of our lads had literally 40 yards to hit it into and we had a counter-attack from their corner, which we’ve worked on, and he finds the goalkeeper who’s 10 yards outside his box.

“The margin for error there is phenomenally big and to miss him is frighteningly worrying. We’ve said in the dressing room that if anyone thinks their position in the team is safe then think again.

“We’ve got a good enough squad. There’s people on the bench saying they should be playing and they’re right.”