Gaffer frustrated with draw...SADDLERS boss Dean Smith bemoaned his side’s luck in front of goal after they were held to a frustrating 1-1 draw at home to lowly Crewe.
Tom Bradshaw’s early header – his eighth goal of the season – put Walsall ahead but Ben Nugent’s well-taken low drive levelled proceedings on 18 minutes.
Smith’s men created but spurned a catalogue of opportunities in the second half.
Jason Demetriou rattled the bar, Bradshaw blazed over and substitutes Kieron Morris and Jordan Cook were each denied by visiting keeper Ben Garratt as Crewe clung on.
“It felt like there was a force-field around their goal at times,” said Smith.
“It was an excellent performance and I was really pleased with the reaction to Wednesday night (4-1 League Cup defeat to Chelsea) because it could have been a case of ‘after the Lord Mayor’s show’.
“I’ve got a lot of respect for Crewe with their philosophy at the football club and the way they play. But to play like that, and to outperform them like we did, was excellent.
“The fans stayed with us all day and they clapped up off at the end because they could see the effort from the players.
“I couldn’t have asked for any more from the players in terms of effort.
“It just wouldn’t drop for us in the box. It dropped for Tom at the end but he put it over. We also hit the crossbar and their keeper has been some excellent saves.
“On another day we would have scored five or six.
“It was one of those days but I was happy with our performance.”
Anthony Forde was recalled to the Saddlers’ starting line-up for the Crewe clash and provided the assist for Bradshaw’s third-minute opener.
“Fordey was excellent,” said Smith. “We got our wide players into the game very well and we were a constant threat from both wide areas throughout the game.
“Kieron has come on and had several chances, and Jordan Cook was terrific, too. He probably just needs a goal to kick-start his season.
“I put Fordey and Milan Lalkovic in on Saturday so we’re blessed in those areas at the moment.”
Walsall are away at Scunthorpe United tomorrow evening (kick-off 7.45pm).