BILLINGE endured a nightmare afternoon on Saturday as they lost 5-0 at Crewe FC.

Injuries, illness and unavailability decimated The Storks and led to them going into the game with two full-backs deputising at centre-back and two midfielders having to slot in in the full-back positions.

Manager Matt Potter was also forced to bring two debutants into the squad including keeper Tom Cooksey however all this paled into insignificance as the game was marred by a serious injury to Billinge's Jamie Anderson who suffered a dislocated knee cap.

The game was held-up after 23 minutes for 40 minutes as the referee and teams awaited an ambulance arriving.

Two minutes earlier Crewe had gone ahead when the Billinge defence left the home side's prolific scorer Nathan Southern all alone at the back post enabling him to side foot the ball home.

Prior to that Crewe were first out of the blocks when Anthony Ainsley tested Cooksey with a 25-yard drive that the young Billinge keeper saved superbly.

The Storks had a great chance to go ahead on 10 minutes when Shaun Brady threaded a lovely ball through to Phil Dearden but the normally deadly striker pulled his shot wide of the far post with just Crewe keeper Milosz Walentowicz to beat.

Two minutes later Cooksey came out superbly to gather a corner and on 19 minutes at the other end Walentowicz kept out Dean Curtis' 23-yard drive.

Curtis and Billinge were the first to threaten - after the lengthy break in play - as the midfielder got a shot away just inside the area that Walentowicz again saved well.

On the half-hour mark Dearden had a good effort saved and then three minutes later Billinge had a glorious chance to draw level.

Ryan McCabe played a terrific ball out of defence that found Liam Bowden in acres of space and bearing down on goal.

The Storks striker did everything right taking the ball into the area and drawing the keeper before shooting but unfortunately his shot drifted wide of the upright.

It would prove to be a costly miss as on 44 minutes a fine Crewe move saw PJ Hudson make it 2-0 as his shot went in off the post.

A moment later it was 3-0 as Billinge’s stand-in centre-back Jake Ball fouled a Crewe player in the box leaving Southern to calmly slot the spot-kick past Cooksey and make it 3-0 at half-time.

It was a mad two minutes and left the scoreline with a lopsided look.

The Billinge support and management may have thought that 3-0 was an unfair reflection on the game but on 51 minutes it was effectively all over as the normally reliable Ryan Platt was caught on the ball by Crewe player-manager Mike Blundell who went forward and cooly shot home to make it 4-0 to the home side.

Manager Potter made changes bringing on 18-year-old Rio Gill for his debut and it was the youngster that combined well with Richie Allen on the right that brought Billinge back into the game.

On the hour mark Brady combined well with Richie Allen whose shot was saved by Walentowicz.

Blundell then had a great shot well saved by Cooksey, in the 70th minute, while up at the other end only a goal-saving tackle by Tinsley prevented Gill getting a shot away and a potential debut goal for The Storks.

As the match went into the final ten minutes Gill met an Allen cross with his head but the ball sailed just over the bar and then the lively striker hit a shot on the turn but the ball went narrowly wide.

It was however Crewe that had the final say as substitute Connor Alcock slotted home after his first effort came back off the bar making the score 5-0 to Crewe.

The defeat sent Billinge down to sixth place in the league with manager Potter saying, "Of course the defeat will hurt everybody involved at Billinge but on days like this everything is overshadowed by Jamie Anderson's injury.

It's a terrible injury and we wish Jamie a speedy recovery.

"Also we would like to thank all at Crewe FC for their superb assistance with the incident and we wish them well for the remainder of the season."

There was better news for Billinge Reserves who progressed into the semi-final of the Reserve Division Challenge Cup after beating Daten Reserves 2-1.

They now play Middlewich Town Reserves in the semi-final game at home this Saturday with a 2pm kick-off.

Meanwhile the first team travel to Knutsford for a Cheshire League Premier Division game.