CREWE'S hopes of claiming their best league finish lie in the balance after Saturday's 3-2 defeat at Golborne.
Weary-looking Crewe struggled to muster an attacking threat and now need Daten to beat Bollington tomorrow, to give them the opportunity of finishing fifth by defeating Garswood at the Cumberland Arena on Saturday (3pm).
Manager Ian O'Reilly said: 'We just looked absolutely shattered. The lads had played last Saturday, Wednesday and Thursday and some of them had Sunday league matches on the Sunday and Tuesday as well. That's too much football. You could see in their eyes they had nothing left to give and it wasn't surprising. You get some professionals complaining about playing twice a week!'
'We went 3-0 down within half-an-hour. Our goals came from a Dave Hanson penalty and an own goal but we didn't have a shot at goal from open play in the whole game.'
Crewe thrashed Daten 5-1 on Wednesday with Dave Hanson hitting a hat-trick and Danny Massey and Liam O'Reilly also on target.
They then scrambled through their opening-round tie in the Roger Haydock Trophy at Whitchurch Alport the following night, with goals from Massey, Steve Parker and Paul Cooke earning a 3-2 win.
Meanwhile, Crewe's Reserves lost 2-0 at Styal on Saturday and have finished their first season in 10th position in the newly-created Mid Cheshire League Reserves Division.