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Match Reports

Walsall 2-3 Crawley Town

13 August 2019

Walsall suffered their first defeat of the season and bowed out of the Carabao Cup after Crawley Town edged a five-goal thriller.

The Saddlers found themselves 2-0 down after 48 minutes thanks to goals from Filipe Morais and Tom Dallison.

Substitute Caolan Lavery scored a brace either side of an Ashley Nadesan strike but it wasn’t enough for Walsall who couldn’t find an equaliser despite applying late pressure.

The Saddlers made a bright start and were the better of the two teams in the opening fifteen minutes.

Their first meaningful opportunity came after some good work by Elijah Adebayo who carved his way into the area and crossed low to Josh Gordon who hooked in a shot that took a deflection and just trickled wide.

It was the visitors who got the opening goal though and it came after 21 minutes. Ashley Nathaniel-George slipped a nice ball through to Nadesan whose low cross found Morais at the back post and the Portuguese applied the finish from close range.

Walsall responded well to going a goal behind and should have equalised six minutes before half time after a well worked corner which saw Cameron Norman’s kick headed back across by Adebayo to Mat Sadler who forced an acrobatic save out of Michael Luyambula.

The Red Devils could have gone into the break 2-0 up if it wasn’t for Liam Roberts who did well to push away Panutche Camara’s shot after Ollie Palmer’s cross was deflected into his path.

Crawley got their second just three minutes into the second half when Dallison powered in a header from a corner.

Darrell Clarke reacted quickly to the goal and made a triple change which saw James Hardy, Wes McDonald and Caolan Lavery on 52 minutes.

The changes proved effective as two minutes later, the Saddlers were awarded a penalty after Mat Sadler was brought down in the area.

Caolan Lavery stepped up and squeezed the ball through the keeper from the spot to open his Sadlers account.

Walsall’s reprieve didn’t last long though as the visitors went straight down the other end through Josh Doherty who galloped forward and crossed towards Nadesan who converted and restored Crawley’s two-goal cushion.

The Saddlers didn’t give up hope and found themselves back in the game on 71 minutes when Lavery scored his second after quick thinking from Cameron Norman from a free-kick found him in space and the striker found the net.

Walsall came agonisingly close to an equaliser on 83 minutes when Norman rattled the bar with a thunderous strike on the half volley just inside the corner of the area.

Saddlers: Roberts (GK), Norman, Sadler, Clarke ©, Sinclair, Kinsella, Gordon (Lavery 52’), Adebayo, Bates (Hardy 52’), Cockerill-Mollett, Jules (McDonald 52’).
Subs: Rose (GK), Pring, Lavery, Hardy, Kiersey, Facey, McDonald

Crawley: Luyambala (GK), Doherty, Payne, ©, Dallison, Palmer, Nadesan (Grego-Cox 59’), Francomb, Nathaniel-George (Allarakhia 81), Tunnicliffe, Morais (Ferguson 69’), Camara.
Subs: Morris (GK), Grego-Cox, Smith, Ferguson, Allarakhia, Sesay, Galach

Attendance: 2451 (94 away)

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