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Match Reports

Match Report: Walsall 1-0 Crawley

3 November 2020

Player-Coach Mat Sadler scored the decisive goal against his former club Crawley Town as the Saddlers ended a run of five without a win at the Banks’s Stadium.

The 35-year-old scored the only goal of the game in the second half in a game that saw both sides strike the post.

Darrell Clarke made five changes to the team that drew with Mansfield Town on Saturday.

Cameron Norman, Liam Kinsella, Caolan Lavery, Alfie Bates and Mat Sadler, making his first league start of the season, came into the team in place of Hayden White, George Nurse, Stuart Sinclair, Danny Guthrie and Emmanuel Osadebe.

Crawley had the first opportunity of the game when Josh Doherty tried his luck from distance. Liam Roberts stopped it but spilled the initial shot and had to react to gather the ball back into his grasp.

The Saddlers improved and started to make inroads. They came close on 19 minutes when Lavery did well down the right to beat his man and play a low ball across the box that was turned onto post by Jordan Tunnicliffe.

The visitors also struck the post 11 minutes later when Tyler Frost’s shot cannoned off the upright before it fell to Jack Powell who blazed over from outside the box.

Neither side were able to really test the respective goalkeepers in the first half although the Saddlers saw a lot of the ball. They had a good chance late on in the half when Rory Holden’s cross was knocked down by Elijah Adebayo into the path of Lavery who shot first time but it flew over the bar and the half ended goalless.

The second half was also nip and tuck in the early exchanges. The Red Devils had the first clear cut chance of the second period when Powell’s corner was headed over by Tony Craig.

Wes McDonald has previous of dazzling against Crawley and came close to scoring another beauty when his quick feet and close control saw him create some space for himself in a congested area and arrowed in a left footed shot that just missed the target on 66 minutes.

Clarke made a double change two minutes later as he introduced Jake Scrimshaw and Emmanuel Osadebe in place of Lavery and Bates.

It seemed to have the desired effect as the Saddlers took the lead on 74 minutes when Holden’s corner was headed goalwards by Dan Scarr that forced substitute goalkeeper Tom McGill into a fine save but Sadler was on hand to prod home the rebound.

Walsall almost doubled their lead instantly when Adebayo tried to bend one into the top corner from distance and wasn’t far away as his effort dropped onto the roof of the net.

There was a heart in mouth moment with a minute of normal time left to play when Tom Nichols hit the post. The Saddlers cleared and eventually broke forward and came close when Holden’s shot was saved by McGill and Scrimwshaw’s rebound was blocked.

The Saddlers held on in the end and claimed a vital three points.

 

Roberts; Norman, Scarr, Sadler, Jules; Holden, Kinsella, Bates (Osadebe 68’), McDonald (Cockerill-Mollett 87’); Lavery (Scrimshaw 68’), Adebayo
Subs: Rose (GK), Sinclair, White, George


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