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WALSALL v CRAWLEY LIVE BLOG

16 March 2013

The latest action direct from the Banks's Stadium...

THE SADDLERS stepped out for our first-ever home League encounter with Crawley Town roared on by over 1,000 local youngsters as part of our Schools Partner initiative and over 20 former players who were here to mark our first Former Players Day.

First effort on goal came in the eighth minute when Jamie Paterson cut inside from the left but his effort was gathered by Paul Jones in the visitors' goal.

Some fine skill by Paterson five minutes later saw him get away from two players before lifting the ball towards Sam Mantom who just failed to make a connection.

As the rain came lashing down, The Saddlers looking to carve open the visitors but having to bide our time.

A foul on Will Grigg as he looked to break through gave Walsall a free-kick in a promising position just outside the area as the game searched for a spark from somewhere. Craig Westcarr's effort was well off target.

With 39 minutes on the clock, a low ball from the right was driven dangerously into the area but scrambled clear.

A late chance for The Saddlers at the end of the half as Andy Taylor broke and fed Paterson who tried to shoot rather than tee up Mantom and his effort was blocked.

HALF-TIME: Walsall 0 Crawley Town 0

Early action of the second half saw Will Grigg battle through only for his effort to be saved.

A rare attempt on goal for Crawley saw Jamie Proctor drag a shot wide.

After Brandy went close, the visitors took the lead out of the blue when Proctor fired home from distance on 51 minutes.

Just before the hour, a great ball in from Nicky Adams found Paul Hayes who produced a fine point-blank save from McCarey. As the ball came loose, Proctor's effort was deflected over from close range.

As the resulting corner broke down, Walsall were able to break away through Paterson who played in Brandy but his effort was blocked by Jones in the visitors' goal.

The game has come to life since Crawley's goal.

Craig Westcarr was replaced by Nicky Featherstone on 61 minutes.

On 67 minutes a great run by Paterson saw him progress into the area and get in a low drive that hit the base of the post and rebounded away.

Another free-kick in a promising position after a foul on Brandy. Andy Taylor on target but lacking the power to trouble the 'keeper.

The second goal arrived for Crawley when Adams' effort kept out by McCarey but as the ball spun up, Paul Hayes was strongest to turn it home despite the attention of Paul Downing.

A second change for Walsall saw Ashley Hemmings replace Brandy with nine minutes to go.

There was a glimmer of light for The Saddlers on 89 minutes when Jamie Paterson's low strike found its way into the net to make it 2-1.

Then in stoppage time came the equaliser as Andy Taylor's probing ball into the danger zone found Grigg at the far post... Thank you very much 2-2!

There was a grandstand finish as Walsall pushed for the winner. Ashley Hemmings showed a clean pair of heels to cut inside and fire just wide.

In the end it was honours even as The Saddlers refused to be beaten.

FULL-TIME: Walsall 2 Crawley Town 2


ATTENDANCE: 5,003 (148 away).

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