After suffering a 2-0 loss to Morecambe at the Bescot Stadium on Tuesday, the Saddlers were hoping to bounce back from their recent defeat against Crewe Alexandra writes Liam Bryan.
The visiting fan base were in full voice as both sides proudly marched onto the field of play. Would Crewe be able to secure their second consecutive victory in League Two or could the boys in red and white return to winning ways? With both sides under pressure this fixture was certainly going to be entertaining.
The visitors started brightly with Chuma Anene’s cushioned header falling to James Jones who powerfully volleyed the ball over the bar. Purposeful in possession striking long balls to their strikers, the Railwaymen were hoping to break the deadlock early in order to take full control of this fixture.
Walsall’s first chance on goal came to Shay Facey in the 9th minute after an intricate through ball from Josh Gordon but Facey struck the ball straight at the goalkeeper. Only six minutes later the home side took the lead after Caolan Lavery pounced on Gordon’s artful flick and slotted the ball under Jaaskelainen’s legs.
Barking orders from the touch line, Darrell Clarke and his coaching staff continued to organise their team from the sideline with Nathan Sheron striking the ball inches wide of the bottom corner, nearly doubling his sides’ lead.
After taking the lead in the 15th minute, Walsall looked reenergised with Josh Gordon once again being involved in the attacking play after his effort past the half an hour mark glanced over the bar. In contrast, Crewe looked frantic in possession with the boys in red and white constantly pressurising them all over the field.
A sustained assault on goal from the Saddlers but the hosts couldn’t double their lead with the score at half time being Saddlers 1-0 Crewe Alexandra. The Walsall faithful passionately applauded their side off the field after a fantastic first half performance.
Liam Roberts was reliant when called upon whilst the defence efficiently dealt with the threat of the visitors’ forwards. Liam Kinsella remained tenacious as well as self aware, constantly outwitting Crewe’s attackers. With Gordon and Lavery causing the oppositions’ defence problems in the first half the 3,300 home fans in attendance were hoping for another successful 45 minutes.
A positive start to the second half for the Railway men with Daniel Powell equalising for the visitors, finishing from close range after an intricate cross from Harry Pickering following a corner. The away side continued to cause problems with Charlie Kirk curling the ball marginally over the bar.
Crewe eventually took the lead in the 68th minute after Oliver Finney accurately struck the ball into the bottom right hand corner, an exquisite finish from the English midfielder.
Devoid of quality, Walsall turned to Danny Guthrie, new signing Nathan Sheron and Elijah Adebayo as Darrell Clarke’s side looked for a way back into the game. Despite late chances for both sides, the game finished Walsall 2-1 Crewe Alexandra prompting loud cheers from the away end at the Bescot Stadium.
“Confidence is playing with no fear,” quoted Liam Kinsella who worked tirelessly in the midfield, constantly beating his opposition to the ball. It’s been a mixed season in England’s fourth tier for Walsall with the Saddlers now sitting in 15th place in the League table. Many players during certain periods of the match portrayed their talents however consistency proved to be the problem with the visiting side capitalising on their chances. Despite this week’s results, the Saddlers will look to bounce back against Forest Green Rovers next Saturday.