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Match Reports

Match Report: Crawley 2-3 Walsall

28 September 2019

Walsall made it three consecutive wins with an impressive victory away at in-form Crawley Town.

The Saddlers stormed into a 2-0 lead thanks to a 30-yard screamer from James Clarke and Elijah Adebayo’s first goal for the club.

Crawley halved the deficit when Ashley Nathaniel-George struck from the penalty spot but Wes McDonald restored Walsall’s two-goal cushion.

Josh Payne pulled one back late on for the hosts but Walsall held for their third away win of the season.

Darrell Clarke made two changes to the side that overcame Scunthorpe United last weekend.

Elijah Adebayo returned from injury in place of the side-lined Caolan Lavery, who limped off against the Iron while Mat Sadler came for Gary Liddle who dropped to the bench.

The first 10 minutes were quite and neither keeper was tested.

Then a moment of magic followed from Saddlers skipper Clarke who received the ball 30-yards-out from Rory Gaffney, took a touch and unleashed an absolute thunderbolt into the top left corner.

Given last week’s stunning bicycle kick, it seems he is having his own goal of the season competition.

Crawley responded well and had a penalty appeal waved away on 19 minutes when Reece Grego-Cox went down under Zak Jules’ challenge.

The Saddlers manage to stifle Crawley and caught them out down the other end to double their lead when McDonald skipped into the area and got to the by-line and cut the ball back to Adebayo who stabbed the ball home from close range to net his first goal for the club.

Crawley again responded well to Walsall’s goal and were pumping crosses into the box but the Saddlers dealt with them well.

Four minutes before the break, the hosts were presented with a brilliant opportunity to get back into the game when they were awarded a penalty after Liam Roberts brought down Mason Bloomfield in the area.

Nathaniel-George rolled the ball into the net from the spot and Crawley were back in it.

Their reprieve didn’t last long though as the Saddlers went straight down the other end and restored their two-goal cushion when Rory Holden found McDonald who cut inside onto his right foot and curled a beauty into the far top corner to score his first goal in professional football.

Crawley made a strong start to the second half. Half-time substitute Bez Lubala and Nathan Ferguson came close with efforts from distance but they just missed the target.

The Red Devils had the majority of the possession in the second half but Walsall defended manfully.

Roberts didn’t have to make a save in the second half until the 83rd minute when he tipped over lubala’s powerful effort.

Payne gave Crawley hope with a well struck goal in added time but Clarke’s men stood firm and took home the three points.

Roberts (GK), Clarke, Sadler, Scarr, Jules; Holden, Guthrie (Liddle 60’), Sinclair, McDonald (Kinsella 55’); Adebayo (Gordon 55’), Gaffney.

Subs: Rose (GK), Norman, Hardy, Cockerill-Mollett.

 


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