Lee Bell saluted the resilience of his players as Crewe grabbed a stoppage-time winner following a lacklustre display in a 3-2 victory against Doncaster.
The high-flying Railwaymen played second fiddle to Grant McCann’s Rovers for long periods and were pegged back by Joe Ironside’s second-half header after having come from behind to lead at the break through goals from defenders Luke Offord and Connor O’Riordan.
Just as the visitors looked to have earned a point their strong second-half showing deserved, giant centre-half O’Riordan grabbed his second goal of the game when he fired in from close range.
“We showed tremendous resilience and we battled throughout the game,” said Bell. “I am always confident we can get something from games like that and the lads can come up with something. They work so hard and wins like that are so important to get when you’re not quite at your best.
“That was Luke’s first goal in the league this season, while in training I call Connor ‘Tore Andre Flo’ as he always scores goals. The main thing though is not who scored but that we got a win when the performance was below par.
“Doncaster are a very aggressive team and we didn’t spot at first that they were nullifying us man for man all over the pitch. But we overcame that and showed great resilience to get the win. We’re heading in the right direction and we’ve got to keep going if we want to do something this season.”
Crewe’s win was their fifth in their last six outings, but they fell behind early on when West Brom loan striker Mo Faal took Ironside’s pass and blasted a fierce low shot past keeper Harvey Davies.
Bell’s men levelled when Offord played a one-two with Aaron Rowe to surge clear in the box and drive an effort out of the reach of Jones (29). O’Riordan took his first from a difficult angle after taking advantage of a ricochet off a Rovers defender after Mickey Demetriou had delivered a long throw just before the break (44).
Ironside had Rovers back on terms after the interval (57) with a powerful glancing header, from James Maxwell’s cross, arrowing into the top corner as the visitors dominated much of the second half during which efforts from Ben Close and substitute Tommy Rowe almost secured the lead.
But Crewe had struck in stoppage time to win their last home game against rivals Notts County and they repeated the feat when Rio Adebisi crossed to the near post and O’Riordan evaded a defender to tuck home a close-range finish (90+2).
Doncaster boss Grant McCann admitted that while losing late on was a blow, he was delighted with his side’s performance.
“If we keep playing like that then we will get our just rewards. We just came off it a bit at the end and got punished. But we know that we’re a match for any team in this division,” said McCann.
“We have our moments away from home where things are not going our way. But I don’t think Crewe tested Louis Jones at all in the second half, but the one chance they had they scored from it.
“We had numerous opportunities and created so many chances in the second half that I thought we were going to win the game. But from what we were like down at AFC Wimbledon a fortnight ago, when we were powderpuff, that was chalk and cheese. I said to the boys after ‘if we are going to get beat that is the way to get beat’.”
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