HOCKEY: A FOUR-star display from Dave Holland fuelled a Crewe Vagrants' surge which took them to level-pegging at the top of the North League Division Two West.
Leaders Bolton have dropped five points in two weeks and allowed the Crewe side to join them at the summit, trailing only on goal difference.
But the Lancashire side's wobble is only half the story, as Crewe go from strength to strength.
Holland, who cracked a first-half hat-trick on Saturday, and skipper James Capper, who got the other, are leading the way.
City threatened twice in the opening minute, but Crewe soon stamped their authority on proceedings when Holland rifled home from a short corner.
The visitors were forced to push forward from then on, and Crewe were devastating on the counter.
On 22 minutes Holland hammered his second from the edge of the area.
Keeper Graham Coombs made a super save to maintain the two-goal cushion, providing the platform to Holland to dribble through and complete his treble on the half-hour mark.
Crewe were coasting but a Manchester goal seconds before the break brought them back to earth.
The visitors applied serious pressure after the restart, forcing Jon Woodhart and Rob Jepson into vital blocks in front of goal, but City made it 3-2 with 10 minutes left.
The home side could barely mask their relief when Holland sent the ball high into the net from a corner to notch his fourth goal.
When Andrew Ashworth's shot rebounded off the keeper, Henry Weir slipped the ball to Capper who stabbed home for 5-2.
Crewe 2nds beat Carlisle 3-0 thanks to a Graham Cooke hat-trick, the 3rds lost 4-2 to City of Manchester 2nds, and the 4ths went down 3-1 to South Cheshire 4ths. Crewe Ladies 1sts did not have a game.
Crewe Ladies 2nds saw their dream of winning the Cheshire Plate shattered at the semi-final stage after a 4-2 defeat to Brooklands MU 2nds on Saturday.
A dreadful first half saw them go 4-0 down, but strikes from Alison Smith and Natalie Stevenson restored pride in the second period.