Date: 29th February 2012 at 10:59am
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Burslem Boy looks back at Vale’s draw with Crewe…

Rumour has it that last night`s derby with Crewe Alexandra was rather a good game. I ought to know. I was there. But I found it difficult to concentrate on events on the pitch. We have been reminded once again that those who love and cherish football clubs the most are the ones with the least influence over their running. I must confess that I did become rather warm on hearing Mr Lloyd`s despicable post-match comments on Saturday that the current situation is all the fault of the stay away fans. It isn`t. Has he not noticed the pitiful crowds that Cheltenham Town get – not to mention lots of clubs in League 1 – and they are 14 points in front of us and made a profit in the last financial year? I wonder what the difference between the two clubs is. I don`t suppose it has anything to do with the way they are run.

I did manage to concentrate long enough to recognise that the Vale played pretty well for an hour or so against a very negative Crewe, but once they ran out of legs in midfield and Micky Adams had to shuffle his pack, Crewe came into the game much more and were worthy of their equaliser. Griffith was again outstanding. He has always been able to ‘put himself about`, but his distribution has improved immeasurably this season and he looks a very good player. We certainly miss him when he isn`t there. Loft has been brilliant in recent weeks, playing out of position in two different positions. He was a constant threat in the first half, but couldn`t get forward in the last third of the game. Rigg and Taylor had much more of the ball in the second half, but were not able to exploit the situations they found themselves in and ominous gaps began to open up down Vale`s left in the last twenty minutes.

Post-match analysis seemed to focus on Crewe`s ‘special player`, Nick Powell. The only thing special I could see about him was the special pleading after the game. He is tall and willowy and shows good movement, but doesn`t look to have great pace. The threat, as always in recent seasons against Crewe, came from Miller (when he eventually came on) and Moore (alas, Mr Gradi was not available to substitute him on this occasion). Still, we mustn`t be too critical of Powell. He is only 12 and it was good of his mum to allow him to stay up late and play with the big, rough boys. Finally, a mention of Steve Phillips. Frankly, I`ve always thought he was rubbish, but he had an excellent game last night and must be given credit for not launching an assault on Artell after his spectacular finish. Those anger management classes are certainly working.