Robins rise into automatic spots

BY foxsports • February 13, 2013

Leeds boss Neil Warnock reacted bullishly after a 1-0 defeat at Middlesbrough saw fans call for his head.

Boro picked up their first points of 2013 thanks to Curtis Main's 81st-minute header, while the Whites slipped eight points adrift of the play-offs.

Visiting supporters chanted: "Warnock, time to go," but the veteran manager said poor finishing was to blame.

"Unless I run on the pitch and put in the chances, I don't know what to do," Warnock said.

"It's frustrating. The last three open goals (in games against Cardiff, Wolves and Middlesbrough) are not difficult chances. I thought Middlesbrough were there for the beating.

"We had a great opportunity to take the lead and don't know how we didn't take it. We should be talking about three wins and be right in there."

On the disenchantment he added: "Its a natural thing.

"If we'd have taken that first chance they would have been chanting our names. I think we've had a good season."

The Alex had their first sight of goal after just 20 seconds at Gresty Road on Tuesday when Mathias Pogba crossed and Luke Murphy tested Shwan Jalal, who tipped the ball to safety.

Chuks Aneke headed wide from the resultant corner and the forward saw another effort saved by Jalal soon after.

Pitman was providing some quality deliveries for the visitors but both Josh McQuoid and Lewis Grabban were guilty of heading good openings wide.

Mark Ellis went close with an effort from the edge of the box for Crewe before the home side survived a goalmouth scramble with some brave blocks.

After the break, Jalal produced a superb stop to deny Ajay Leitch-Smith from eight yards and Murphy rattled the crossbar with a free-kick.

But the Cherries took the lead on the hour when Pogba was harshly penalised for a foul on Matt Ritchie and Pitman stroked home the penalty.

Pogba almost made instant amends but dragged wide inside the box before Bradden Inman was denied again by Jalal.

Pogba did level in the 79th minute, crashing home Kelvin Mellor's cross with a powerful header.

But Crewe were on terms for just five minutes as Pitman drilled home Steve Cook's cross for his second of the game six minutes from time.

Jonathan Forte's first goal since returning to the club on loan from Southampton and a Jamie Murphy strike sealed the points at Gigg Lane.

It was a particularly disappointing night for Bury manager Kevin Blackwell, who was facing his former club for the first time since being sacked as manager in 2010.

But revenge never looked on the cards as United enjoyed the better chances, Forte denied early on by Trevor Carson.

The Bury 'keeper also scrambled to keep out a Harry Maguire header while George Long tipped away a Nick Ajose effort at the other end.

The visitors eventually went in front seven minutes before the break when Forte cut in from the flank to fire into the bottom corner.

Ashley Eastham spurned a great chance to equalise soon after the break, blasting over from Steven Schumacher's free-kick.

And Bury paid the price, allowing Murphy to seal the win with a powerful finish after some catastrophic defending from a corner.

Midfielder Marlon Pack put the Robins in front from the penalty spot in the 13th minute at Roots Hall on Tuesday night, after Shrimpers midfielder Alex Woodyard had needlessly brought down Russell Penn inside the penalty area.

Pack rolled the spot kick in to the right-hand side of the goal, with Southend goalkeeper Paul Smith diving in the opposite direction.

Boyhood Southend fan Paul Benson then doubled Cheltenham's lead in the 38th minute when he capitalised on a defensive mix-up between centre back Michael Spillane and Smith to prod the ball into the back of the net.

The strike handed Benson his first Cheltenham goal and killed off a disjointed Southend side who created few clear-cut chances.

However, they did bag a last-gasp consolation when the on-loan Ben Reeves guided a right footed shot in to the top right-hand corner of the net.


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