Crewe Alexandra: Steve Davis left fuming after Bournemouth defeat
CREWE manager Steve Davis was left fuming after his side were beaten at Bournemouth.
The Alex were undone by Brett Pitman's hat-trick – his first treble since August 2010 – with youngster Ryan Colclough's maiden senior goal all the visitors had to show for their efforts.
Davis highlighted the performance of referee Iain Williamson as key to his side's demise, with the Berkshire official awarding the home side two spot-kicks, which were both converted by Pitman.
"We definitely feel hard done by," said the Crewe boss.
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"The referee was their best player throughout. He changed the game in the first few minutes by giving a penalty and did it again in the second half.
"Bournemouth had the better of the second half, but that was only because of the goals they scored. We were the better team in the first half and kept going.
"It is difficult, when those decisions go against you, for a young side to keep going, but I thought we did well in those circumstances.
"We got ourselves back into the game at 2-1, but then came the second penalty and it knocked us back again.
"At 2-1 we still fancied our chances. We looked good on the counter attack and had people willing to get in behind them and hurt them.
"The third goal, the second penalty, killed us but if the referee looks at it again he will realise he made a big mistake."
Adam Dugdale was the first Crewe culprit, bringing down Marc Pugh to concede the eighth-minute spot-kick which Pitman scored.
Bournemouth's second came in 67th minute when Pitman tapped-in a centre from Josh McQuoid.
But Crewe struck back with Colclough's goal from two yards after Mathias Pogba had shot across the face of the goal.
Pitman completed his hat-trick in the 82nd minute when Abdul Osman was adjudged to have fouled Wes Fogden, which ended the Alex's hopes of launching a comeback.
A positive for Davis, however, was the performance of Jon Guthrie, who delivered a solid full debut in the centre of defence.
Guthrie joined the club last February from Sydenhams Wessex League side Pewsey Vale – and had made just one appearance before, as a substitute against Swindon in October.
"Jon did not let anyone down. He was excellent, as were Colclough and Max Clayton," he added.
"They are young and learning and this was all part of the learning experience.
"We have done exceptionally well up to now and we may have got something if decisions had gone in our favour."
Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe felt the Cherries' heavy schedule had caught up with them.
But he was delighted they managed to keep up their impressive recent form which has left them in the League One play-off zone.
He said: "We have played a lot of matches lately and we looked leggy and tired.
"This was a big win for us because we had to grind it out. We were missing one or two players and others were carrying injuries.
"At times in the first half we looked dead on our feet.
"But such is the spirit in the squad that we found our rhythm in the second half and were excellent."
Howe also reserved special praise for hat-trick hero Pitman.
"Brett Pitman's scoring record is good as anyone's," he added.
"He worked hard and showed the right attitude after being left out of the starting line-up earlier this week."