The Times, Sunday Times and Telegraph now seem to require registration to view articles on their sites, with the Times and Sunday Times charging readers outside the UK. The Times/Sunday Times has also moved some of the older articles into an archive which requires separate registration and requires you to pay to access the content. The Independent now charges for access to articles more than a week old.
Slight surprise when getting on the bus to find a dog, riding up front. Bigger surprise when we let it do the map-reading when the A14 was closed, which led us to driving down country lanes narrower than the coach, whilst the locals tried to work out what a bunch of Leeds fans en route to Crewe were doing in Northamptonshire.
Still once we left the countryside, and crawled through the roadworks on the M6 we made Crewe and found a pub by 12.30. Wandering down to the ground the big stand looming in front of you looks quite impressive, but once you got round the other side the 3 other "shed" are less so, we'd really arrived in the Nationwide. In a way it's rather like our ground, one big stand dwarfing all the others, just on a quarter of the scale.
Just the one expected change with a new signing (where exactly did that money come from) in for Walton, Gregan settled in well and kept it simple, and we quickly assumed control of the game. Despite controlling the game we'd only created a couple of clear chances in the first half , once where Richardson and Wright somehow contrived not to score after a scramble and another one where Richardson thrashed it over from the edge of the box when a side-foot into the corner would probably have sufficed.
Half-time I decided to not follow half the Leeds fans in having a piss behind the toilets and actually wait to go inside, a good decision as by the time I came out the police were rounding up the pissers.
First half Crewe hadn't looked like scoring, a few minutes into the second half they had. A cross bounced around our area and for some odd reason Carlisle decided to handball it, no-one really bothered arguing about the inevitable penalty. For once I have confidence our keeper might actually save a pen now - unfortunately he didn't.
I didn't see the equaliser as Si was causing chaos by sitting in the wrong place, but I hear it was a Pugh tap-in after a goal-mouth scramble which appears to be becoming our favourite method of scoring.
It looked from this point that we should go onto win, but again we failed to really impose our authority and turn possession into good chances. Gregan was obviously tiring (it was his first game of the year) and should have been replaced by Spring. Instead Blackwell surprisingly decided to replace the lively Joachim with the lumbering Ricketts, to partner the erm.. lumbering Deane.
The game entered a scrappy phase and it looked like we might have to settle for a draw, then Crewe put together there first decent move of the game and Jones fired low past Sullivan. We then entered Robocop time as the police walked round in front of us in full riot gear despite there not having been the slightest hint of trouble during the match. What a waste of money indeed.
Again the Crewe goal stirred us into action, and we pushed forward again and after Wright and Crainey had cracked a couple over the bar, another cross was only partly cleared to the edge of the area and Pugh calmly ran onto it to hammer it into the bottom corner. Last minute McMaster got to the by-line and hit an excellent low cross across the face of the goal, unfortunately our 2 centre-forwards were both missing in action, both loitering on the edge of the area when a predatory centre-forward would be looking for the tap in.
Our sneaky plan to park up the road for a quick getaway back-fired somewhat when one of our number got lost coming out of the ground and by the time we found him Crewe was empty. We can find our way around China and the Ukraine but Gresty Road was obviously a culture-shock too far.
A game we should have won, Crewe were very average. In the end we were relieved to get a draw, we'll need to win games like this if we are to achieve much this season.
Sullivan 7 - We have the best keeper in the division, it'd help though if we gave him a chance by avoiding stupid pens.
Kelly 7 - Some f***wit behind me spent all first half shouting abuse at Kelly, but in my eyes he did little wrong.
Crainey 6 - Solid enough, does little wrong without really adding any spark to the team.
Butler 7.5 - We need him at the moment, organises the defence excellently and I prefer to see him playing and doing the basics well rather than risking too younger players (Carlisle and Kilgallon) together at the moment.
Carlisle 6 - Silly penalty, solid enough otherwise.
Richardson 6 - Not his best recent game, missed a couple of decent chances and din't really get at them down the flanks as much as he has in other games.
Gregan 6 - First-half I could see why brought him, as we enjoyed more control of midfield than has been usual this season. He seemed to tire rapidly in the seconf though.
Wright 7 - I think he's getting better with every game, when Gregan gets properly match-fit, I think he'll see enough ball to start really influencing games.
Pugh 8 - Got to be MotM for 2 goals. Tidy if unspectacular otherwise, must be slightly worrying that Scum's reserve left back has now scored 5 times as many goals as anyone else.
Joachim 7 - Unlucky to be subbed, though his pace was largely confined to harrying defenders, than running onto any decent balls.
Deane 6.5 - He works hard and uses his experience well, keeping it simple and finding one of our midfielders when he has the ball rather than trying something he's no longer capable of. But he's hardly going to score 20 goals is he. One would be nice.
Ricketts 6 - If Ricketts showed anything like the form he's obviously capable of, I-d be really confident of us pushing for promotion - unfortunately there's still no sign of it.
McMaster 7 - A late lively cameo.