Saddlers share spoils
THE SADDLERS shared the spoils at high-flying Crawley Town in a game which saw us on top for long periods.
There was an early effort for Will Grigg that just flashed wide before a Jamie Paterson was saved by Paul Jones in the home goal.
The goal that Walsall had been threatening came on 13 minutes when Paterson picked out Febian Brandy who held of a challenge before poking the ball home into the far corner.
A timely block from Joe Walsh thwarted Paterson then Jones denied Grigg.
Crawley got back onto level terms when Jonathan Forte found Billy Clarke who sweetly fired home into the top corner to give debutant goalkeeper, Aaron McCarey no chance.
The goal gave the home side some impetus with Mike Jones going close.
There was a booking for Andy Taylor on 36 minutes before a long-range attempt from Sam Mantom flew just wide of the target.
The half ended with Andy Butler seeing yellow as The Saddlers weathered something of a storm from Crawley in the wake of the goal but were the beter side for long periods of the first half.
The Saddlers started the second period with some neat football as Grigg and Paterson all went close.
We regained the lead when Brandy did well on the left and as the ball fell out to Mantom, his stinging drive was pushed out by the 'keeper into the path of Ashley Hemmings who stayed calm to find the net.
It was well deserved by a Walsall team who were playing with belief and confidence again and making it frustrating for the home side.
That said, they managed to get back on level terms on 80 minutes when Nicky Adams did well on the right and his ball was met by the head of Jonthan Forte who saw his effort loop up and into the net.
McCarey was booked in the aftermath as there was a melee in the net as Crawley looked to get the ball quickly.
The closing stages were end-to-end and a burst of pace from Brandy took him through only for Walsh to halt his progress. He was duly red-carded as the free-kick on the edge of the area was blocked by the defensive wall.
Adam Chambers replaced Nicky Featherstone before late on both James Baxendale and George Bowerman entered the action in place of Hemmings and Grigg.
There was a frantic end to the game as both sides went for the winner. Adams was denied by a Mantom block then Brandy saw the 'keeper save his strike.
In the end, both sides took a point from what was an entertaining encounter.