LATE LEVELLER DENIES SADDLERSMATCH REPORT
THE SADDLERS stepped out for our home clash with Crewe Alexandra determined to get back into winning ways.
Adam Chambers won possession in the midfield within the opening minute and as he fed Will Grigg, his effort was deflected inches wide. It was a bright start for Walsall as we forced a couple of early corners.
An inviting cross in from the right by James Baxendale caused problems after Mark Ellis' loose ball out of defence put his side under more pressure.
With ten minutes on the clock, a foul by Chambers gave the visitors a free-kick in a promising position which Harry Davis curled towards the top corner only for Karl Darlow to tip over well.
The 13th minute was unlucky for Byron Moore as he lost possession in the middle of the park to Flo Cuvelier who set Jamie Paterson away with an inch-perfect pass and although Paterson still had a lot to do, he tucked the ball away nicely to make it 1-0.
As the ball found its way through to Grigg, the offside flag stayed down but the ball wouldn't sit up for him and in the end his header was easy for the 'keeper to gather.
The lead was doubled on 26 minutes when a low ball in from the left found its way to Cuvelier who fired home from close range to make it 2-0.
A header from Mathias Pogba went close with ten minutes to go until the interval.
There was a booking for Dean Holden in the 42nd minute for a strong challenge on the half-way line.
The visitors pulled a goal back with half-time looming as a free-kick sent into the danger zone found its way through a crowd of players and beyond Darlow with a touch from Mark Ellis.
There was still time for a Saddlers' chance in stoppage time as Chambers dragged the ball inches wide of the post with the 'keeper beaten.
HALF-TIME: Walsall 2 Crewe Alexandra 1
The second period started with chances at either end as firstly Grigg broke through only to be thwarted by Alan Martin in The Alex goal and then Darlow had to beat away Byron Moore's drive.
A low effort from Abdul Osman blocked as the visitors searched for an equaliser but found the Walsall rear-guard in stubborn mood. In fact, real goalscoring opportunities were at a premium at either end as the second half went on.
In a bid to add an extra spark in attack, George Bowerman came in for Nicky Featherstone with 74 minutes on the clock.
There was a booking for Andy Butler who, it's fair to say, disagreed with the decision.
The Saddlers having to soak up the pressure as Crewe pushed on in search of a leveller.
There was a let-off for Walsall with eight minutes to go when Andy Taylor brought down Mathias Pogba as he broke into the area. The referee was close to the incident and waved play-on.
It was to be Taylor's last involvement in the action as Ben Purkiss took his place.
The final minute saw Will Grigg replaced by Febian Brandy.
With 92 minutes on the clock, Pogba did well on the right once more to beat Taundry and his cross found the head of Chuks Aneke who found the net as the ball went in off the underside of the crossbar to make it 2-2.
FULL-TIME: Walsall 2 Crewe Alexandra 2
WALSALL: Darlow, Taundry, Butler, Holden, Featherstone (Bowerman), A. Chambers, Cuvelier, Grigg (Brandy), Paterson, Baxendale, A. Taylor (Purkiss).