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Match Reports

Match Report: Crewe Alexandra 2-0 Walsall

15 April 2023

Match Reports

Match Report: Crewe Alexandra 2-0 Walsall

15 April 2023

The Saddlers tasted defeat on the road as goals from Rod McDonald and Chris Long secured all three points for Crewe Alexandra.

Michael Flynn made one change to the side that battled to a point against Carlisle United on Easter Monday. Joe Low returned to the starting XI in place of Hayden White who was serving his first game of suspension following his red card against the Cumbrians earlier in the week. Liam Kinsella was handed the captain’s armband as he embarked on his 250th appearance for the club.

It was the worst possible start for the Saddlers as the hosts took the lead on 2 minutes. A free-kick on the right-hand side was swung in by Elliot Nevitt and captain McDonald was on hand to head past Owen Evans into the back of the net.

Flynn’s side regrouped and had an opportunity to level the score on 4 minutes when Isaac Hutchinson had the ball in space and tried to curl an effort towards goal from just outside the area. Conor Wilkinson got a glancing header on the shot which took Crewe keeper Dave Richards by surprise but the ball trickled just wide of the post.

The Saddlers continued to try and work some opportunities and on 19 minutes Oisin McEntee picked up the ball after a quick throw-in by Tom Knowles and delivered a floated ball into the box. Low was on hand to rise highest and head towards goal but his effort did little to trouble Richards as it went wide of the mark.

Crewe maintained the advantage and doubled their lead on 25 minutes. Long picked up the ball and managed to squeeze his way past two men and the hosts’ number 7 composed himself inside the box before curling his effort past Evans into the far corner.

Flynn turned to his bench shortly after as Kinsella and Low were replaced by Joss Labadie and Joe Riley as the Saddlers switched to four at the back.

On 33 minutes, former Saddlers loanee Daniel Agyei tried his luck from 20 yards out with a curling effort which went wide of the post and that was the last of the action in the first half as Flynn’s side went into the break with work to do.

There was little action at the start of the second half as both sides cancelled each other out and restricted each other to few opportunities.

On the stroke of the hour mark, the Saddlers were dealt a blow when they were reduced to ten men, with Labadie picking up his second yellow card. In the aftermath, the referee brandished a yellow card to Flynn and gave another red card out, this time to Assistant Coach Wayne Hatswell.

Flynn made another change on 65 minutes as Jacob Maddox was introduced in place of Wilkinson.

Crewe almost made it three on 68 minutes as Agyei did well on the left-hand side to beat McEntee before driving into the box and the forward sent a low ball across the penalty area which was deflected into the path of Nevitt but he was unable to keep his shot down on the rebound as it sailed over the bar.

As the game reached its conclusion, Knowles went on a marauding run on 83 minutes and did well to beat his man before advancing into the penalty area but the forward dragged his effort wide from a tight angle.

Flynn made a final change on 87 minutes when Ronan Maher came on in place of Jamille Matt.

That was the last of the action as the Railwaymen picked up all three points in what was a frustrating afternoon at the Mornflake Stadium.

Attendance: 4857 (1010 away)

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