Carabao Cup Match Report: Walsall 2 Crawley Town 3 Carabao Cup Match Report: Walsall 2 Crawley Town 3

Carabao Cup Match Report: Walsall 2 Crawley Town 3

Here is our Match Report from Tuesday evening's Carabao Cup - Round One clash between Walsall and Crawley Town.
Darrell Clarke's side arrived at the match on the back of last weekend's League Two draw with Forest Green Rovers, and keen to build a solid run in the cup competitions.

The manager hoped to make the most of the cups as a way to blood some of his squad's fringe players as they battle it out for a spot in the first-team.

Crawley Town got the match underway, but it was Walsall who started the game looking the brighter of the two sides, winning a free-kick in a dangerous position just two minutes in, thanks to some good work from Josh Gordon.

Although that came to nothing, the hosts were soon asking questions of their guests again, as a long throw from Cameron Norman was flicked across the face of goal, though none of his team-mates were able to get a final touch on it to turn it home.

The game settled a little after the early frenetic start, but ten minutes in, the Saddlers won their third corner of the evening, the first two in the opening minutes of the contest coming to nothing. This flag-kick called Crawley 'keeper, Ngemba Michael Lyuambula into action, with the shot-stopper gathering at the second attempt.

The visitors were quick to work the ball up to the other end from the goal-kick, winning a corner of their own in the twelfth minute, which was played in towards the far post, where Jordon Tunnicliffe rose to meet it, but the defender was unable to turn the ball home and the Saddlers launched a counter-attack, winning another corner themselves as some good play from Elijah Adebayo set up Gordon, whose shot on goal was deflected behind, and the flag-kick came to nothing.

With twenty-one minutes on the clock, rather against the run of play, Crawley took the lead, as a good run from Ashley Nathaniel-George was finished off with a pass to Ashley Nadeson, who crossed the ball into the box, where Filipe Morais tapped home from five yards.

A disappointing goal for the Saddlers to concede, especially after such a dominant early display.

There was a brief halt to proceedings in the twenty-fifth minute, whilst George Francombe received treatment for a head injury, but the defender was soon back on his feet and able to continue.

Buoyed by their goal, the visitors continued to see more of the goal and soon had the ball back in the Saddlers box, as Morais looked to turn provider, but his ball in evaded his team-mates and sailed out of play without incident.

The Saddlers soon had the ball back up at the other end, where Josh Doherty was forced to put the ball out of play, but the resulting flag-kick came to nothing.

Walsall continued to enjoy a brighter spell, seeing plenty of the ball, winning yet another corner in the thirty-seventh minute, as some good work out on the right, from Cameron Norman set up Adebayo for a headed effort, but a deflection on it's way through saw the ball turned wide, and the Saddlers were again unable to make use of the flag-kick.

Again, the Saddlers were quick to work the ball back into the danger area, after a brief counter-attack from Crawley, winning yet another corner for their efforts. The flag-kick was met by Adebayo, who did well to win the knock-down before playing the ball in for Mat Sadler, whose goal-bound strike was tipped over the bar by Luyambula in a fantastic move, and the resulting corner came to nothing.

Liam Roberts was then tested up at the other end, as Ollie Palmer beat Zak Jules to a long ball before seeing the Walsall shot-stopper palm his effort clear.

The Saddlers 'keeper was again tested as we headed into two additional minutes, as a cross into the box was met by Panutche Camara, whose fired a powerful effort in on goal, which Roberts was able to deny.

That would be the last action of a very entertaining first-half, and the teams headed off for their half-time refreshments, with Crawley leading by one-goal-to-nil.

0 - 1

The teams returned unchanged after the break, and Walsall got the action back underway. Crawley began the half brightly, winning a corner just two minutes in, which Nathaniel-George whipped into the box, where Tom Dallison was waiting to power a header past Roberts to double his sides advantage.

The Saddlers responded to falling two behind, by making a triple substitution in the fifty-second minute, as Zak Jules, Alfie Bates and Josh Gordon all making way as James Hardy, Wesley McDonald and Caolan Lavery entered the fray.

Within two minutes of joining the action, Lavery was able to put his mark on the game, as the summer arrival stepped up to take a spot-kick, awarded as Luyambula felled Sadler. The Crawley shot-stopper got a hand to the penalty kick, but was unable to keep the ball out, and the hosts pulled a goal back.

The celebrations were short lived though, as they raced goal-wards from the re-start, where Nadesan restored his sides two-goal cushion with a simple tap-in.

That would be Ashley Nadesan's last contribution of the evening, as he was replaced by Reece Grego-Cox in the fifty-ninth minute.

The visiting side continued to enjoy plenty of the ball, and thought they had scored again in the sixty-first minute, through Nathaniel-George, but an infringement of the offside rule would ensure the Saddlers remained only two goals behind.

Walsall soon had the ball back up at the other end, as they looked for a route back into the game, winning a corner in the sixty-second minute as Doherty was forced to put the ball out of play, but the flag-kick came to nothing and the visitors whisked the ball back up to the other end, where Nathaniel-George fired an effort narrowly wide of the upright.

With sixty-nine minutes on clock, the visiting side opted to make a second change to their line-up, as Filipe Morais made way for Nathan Ferguson.

With seventy-two minutes on the clock, the Saddlers pulled themselves back to within one goal of their opposition, as Norman played a quickly taken free-kick into the box for Lavery, who fired past Luyambula to secure his second goal of the evening.

In the seventy-sixth minute, Tom Dallison became the first name added to the referee's notebook, seeing yellow for a foul on Norman.

Eighty-one minutes in, Crawley opted to make their final change of the evening, as Ashley Nathaniel-George made way for Tarryn Allarakhia.

Walsall continued to probe as they looked for an equalising goal, and went close in the eighty-third minute following a game of pinball, which broke out inside the box, but the eventual shot on goal from Norman pinged off the crossbar and flew out of play.

The pace slowed a little as we neared the final whistle, but the Saddlers continued to look for opportunities to draw level, with Lavery going close in the eighty-eighth minute, with a headed effort which cleared the crossbar.

Five minutes were added to end the evening's action, during which time the Saddlers won yet another corner, which Roberts went up for as his side looked for a last-gasp equaliser, but the Crawley defences were equal to it.

That would be the last real action of the evening, as the full-time whistle sounded with Crawley Town's slender lead intact. Darrell Clarke's Saddlers being knocked out of the Carabao Cup at the first time of asking, despite turning in a decent performance, on the whole.

2 - 3
Lavery (PEN 54')
Lavery (71')

Morais (21')
Dallison (48')
Nadesan (55')
Attendance: 2,451 (94)
Referee: Carl Boyeson
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