There was no anniversary celebration for Steve Davis, as his Crewe side were handed a 3-0 battering by Gillingham.
It was Alex’s fifth defeat of the season in League One as goals from Cody McDonald, Joe Martin and Adam Barrett handed the visitors a thumping victory, their first in the division for over three years.
And at full-time, Davis blasted: “I can’t repeat what I’ve said in there, but I’m really disappointed with everything about the game – our approach, effort and application.
“We showed no skill or quality and we didn’t run about.
“We just didn’t get going.
“It was 40 minutes by the time we first had a chance, and we created very little else.
“We’ve got too many who are devoid of ideas and confidence at the moment, and not playing any where near their potential.
“So when we’ve got that situation, even the ones who aren’t in the team at the moment are all suffering at the moment.
“The only answer is to keep changing it and try and find the right ingredient.
“We’ve got to do some bonding and building just to restore confidence before we can move forward.
“I’m not sure it hurts the players enough – we questioned that after.
“The desire to run around and play and that team ethic again.
“We’ve asked lots of questions and, I’ve really made it known how I feel, and we’ll see the results of that on Monday.”
McDonald’s strike came after Gillingham had already spurned a number of chances to take the lead.
Crewe were firstly gifted a lifeline when Chris Whelpdale failed to connect with Danny Kedwell’s cross from six yards out, before McDonald had a goal disallowed after he kicked the ball out of Steve Phillips’ hands before converting.
The Alex ‘keeper was then called into action just after the half-hour when he comfortably saved Steven Gregory’s weak shot.
However, Gillingham took the lead with their next attack, as McDonald ran onto Charlie Lee’s superb ball down the left and calmly slotted through Phillips’ legs and into the net.
The visitors then doubled their lead five minutes after the break, as Joe Martin superbly curled a 20-yard free-kick into the top corner that left Phillips stranded.
The introduction of substitute Vadaine Oliver on the hour finally woke Crewe up as they looked to get back into the game.
The striker had two chances in quick succession, firstly a low drive that was saved at the near post before ‘keeper Stuart Nelson superbly dived to his right to tip a rasping drive out for a corner.
However, on 68-minutes, Gillingham scored a third that signalled the end of Crewe’s challenge, with Adam Barrett viciously converting a loose ball at the near post.
And it could have been four, had Phillips not pulled off a superb save from Charlie Lee late on, diving to his right to palm away a right-footed drive.
And boss Martin Allen was delighted with his side’s performance as they moved off the foot of the table.
“I think that’s a reward for all the hard work the players and staff have put in,” he said.
“We’ve trained for five days this week, done a couple of afternoons and the players have all put in a big contribution off the field.
“I thought they played very, very well.
“It was very similar I thought to how we played last year – the same team spirit, unity and togetherness.
“The performance was down to the extra training and the team spirit.
“Obviously something had to be done – we couldn’t carry on like we were doing, and that’s what I do.
“It may upset a few people, but the results weren’t there anyway, so there’s no worries about upsetting anyone.
“It’s about making our supporters happy, putting in good performances.
“All of the players were quality.
“I don’t think I’ve ever put on as many training session in one week in all my life.
“It was back to basics, and the players carried it out to a T.
“We don’t get carried away though, we just do our job.
“Just like last week, we won’t go down to the chemist to get some medicine and this week we won’t have any champagne.”