WALSALL v CREWE ALEXANDRA
THE SADDLERS were back on home duty for the visit of Crewe Alexandra.
It was the visitors who had the first chance of the game on four minutes when Brad Inman lifted the ball just wide of the target.
At the other end, Ben Purkiss and then Anthony Forde delivered crosses into the danger zone but the visitors were able to scramble clear.
A neat passage of Walsall play ends with the offside flag halting Reece Flanagan's progress as he breaks into the area.
There was a positive low drive from Romaine Sawyers that flew inches wide with 17 minutes on the clock.
Some good link-up between Forde and Purkiss saw the latter get in an inviting cross that was headed clear.
A sharp effort from former Saddler, Febian Brandy is kept out at the second attempt by Richard O'Donnell.
The next raid saw The Alex force a corner which was headed just wide at the near post by Alan Tate.
A short corner for The Saddlers found Andy Taylor whose low strike deflected wide off Cook, whilst at the other end moments later, Walsall had to defend in numbers to deny the visitors.
With half-time approaching, Adam Chambers was alert to win the ball and set up Benning who dragged his effort just wide.
It was to be the last real action of the half as it ended goalless.
There was a lively start to the second period from both sides as Sawyers went close with a curler.
The first change for The Saddlers saw Mathieu Manset on for Mal Benning before Birthday boy, Billy Clifford replaced Flanagan five minutes later.
It was Walsall who looked the most likely side, although O'Donnell had to do well to keep the visitors at bay with a block in a crowded goalmouth.
Some good possession from The Saddlers ended with a high cross from Forde met with a tame header from Cook that was on target but failed to trouble the 'keeper.
A ball out of defence by Butler was well controlled by Manset who used his strength before firing low and narrowly wide. Then the visitors' 'keeper had to be alert to tip over as the resulting corner landed just wide.
The final change saw James Baxendale on for Anthony Forde with eight minutes to go.
The visitors took the lead when a corner wasn't cleared and Adam Dugdale was on hand to turn the ball home to open the scoring.
It was to prove to be the winner as The Alex held on to their lead to claim all three points.