Crewe returned to league action after a short break during Christmas and New Year with a 1-0 victory over West Didsbury & Chorlton.
Beth Ragdale, Katie Nuttall, Loren Cooper & Katie Greenwood were all absent from Matt Fisher's matchday squad due to covid or injuries. This meant a reshuffle at the back and a decision was made to play attacker Shanice Finbow and Midfielder Jess Sheridan in the centre of defence.
West Didsbury dominated possession for the opening stages of the game with the Alex struggling to find their feet but it was the home side that tested the goalkeepers first when Amanda Fallon forced a routine save out of the West Didsbury shot stopper. Crewe gained confidence from this and Megan Parker started to ask questions of her opposite number.
With the middle of the pitch congested, this meant there was plenty of overload opportunities in wide areas, something the Alex women didn't take advantage off enough.
Crewe did come close in the 26th minute when the away goal keeper made a save low down from Beth Grice and then again 5 minutes later from a tame Megan Parker strike.
The visitors remained resolute though and their compact formation got them into the break level.
Crewe Alex Women started the second half like they finished the first. Playing through the thirds and making the pitch big but West Didsbury did create their first chance of the game in 51st minute when a cross into the box wasn't dealt with by the Crewe defence and the Dids forward saw her strike saved by the onrushing Hannah Holloway. A wake up call for Crewe.
Entering the final ten minutes of the game, meant Crewe could pile more pressure on and go searching for that winner. Eventually that pressure paid off as Finbow met Beth Grice's corner and managed to steer her volley low past the 'keeper.
Reflecting on the victory, Head Coach, Matt Fisher said: "The girls did really well under tough circumstances. It shows what quality in depth we have. We've been unlucky over the last 7-10 days but we managed to get the 3 points and most importantly everyone is healthy. A huge well done to Shanice Finbow, who not only scored the winner but played 90 minutes in a totally unnatural part of the pitch in a different role. She was superb throughout and I don't remember her losing an individual battle."