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Match Report: Crawley Town 1 Walsall 1

Here is our Match Report from Tuesday evening's League Two clash between Crawley Town and Walsall.
The Saddlers went into the match looking to secure just their second win in fifteen games, as Brian Dutton's side look to edge away from the battle to avoid relegation back to the relative safety of mid table.

Crawley Town got the match underway, and both sides enjoyed time on the ball in the early goings as they settled into the game.

Walsall looked the brighter of the two sides early on, with Cameron Norman seeing the first real chance of the game headed behind by Crawley defender, Joe McNerney in the eleventh minute, with the resulting corner coming to nothing.

Crawley began to grow into the game more following the Saddlers shot, and were perhaps a little unlucky not to open the scoring in the seventeenth minute as Tom Nichols played the ball across the box to Ashley Nadesan whose turned the ball narrowly wide, when he probably should scored.

The Saddlers enjoyed another good spell following the Nadesan effort, seeing an effort skied in the eighteenth minute as Emmanuel Osadebe tried his luck from some distance, before Stuart Sinclair saw a shot blocked moments later.

With twenty-one minutes on the clock, Crawley were forced to make an early change to their line-up, as Jake Hesketh pulled up with an injury that prevented him from continuing, with James Tilley taking to the field in his place.

Walsall continued to see plenty of the ball as the game continued, with Norman and Osadebe combining in the twenty-fourth minute to force a save, before winning their first corner of the match four minutes later, as Tilley turned the ball behind. The flag-kick ultimately coming to nothing, as the two sides remained level.

The hosts forced a save from Walsall shot-stopper, Liam Roberts in the thirty-sixth minute as a lovely delivery into the box from Crawley captain, George Francomb met the head of Nadesan. Fortunately for the Saddlers, Roberts was alert to the danger, after enjoying a fairly quiet opening spell, and diverted the effort behind for a corner, which came to nothing.

Walsall captain, James Clarke became the first player to see his name entered into the referee's notebook in the fortieth minute, as he picked up a yellow card for a foul on Nichols.

The resulting free-kick was blocked by the wall, with the loose ball falling kindly for McNerney who chipped it into the box, onto the head of Jordan Maguire-Drew, whose goal-ward effort sailed wide of the back post.

The Saddlers felt they should have been awarded a penalty in the forty-third minute, as a Norman effort appeared to hit the arm of Jake Hessenthaler inside the box, but the referee was unmoved by their protestations and play continued.

One additional minute was added to end the first-half, but neither side created anything further of note, and the sides headed off for their break with the scores tied.

HT
CTFC
0-0
WFC

Crawley opted to make a second change to their line-up as the sides returned following the break, with Archie Davies sitting out the second-half as Tony Craig took his place as the Saddlers got the match action back underway.

The home team began the second-half brightly, with Maguire-Drew forcing a save from the Walsall shot-stopper just two minutes after the restart.

The Saddlers had soon worked the ball up to the other end though, with Caolan Lavery attempting an overhead kick which struck the crossbar after some good work from Max Melbourne.

With fifty-five minutes on the clock, the Saddlers were awarded a penalty as Josh Gordon was felled inside the area by Tunnicliffe, a move which also saw the Town man booked. Osadebe stepped up to take the spot-kick and duly converted to gift his side the lead.

As we reached the hour mark, the hosts looked to pull themselves back onto level terms, with Maguire-Drew firing a wind assisted effort goal-wards, but the Walsall shot-stopper remained alert to the danger and managed to save.

In the sixty-third minute, Joe McNerney became the third player to see yellow, as he received a caution for a foul on Osadebe.

The home side continued to look the brighter as time wore on, going close again in the sixty-fourth minute as Maguire-Drew worked the ball to Nichols, but once again Roberts was alert in the Walsall goal and saved.

In the seventy-first minute, the home side opted to make two further changes to their team. George Francomb and Maguire-Drew the two men to make way as Josh Wright and Nick Tsaroulla entered the fray.

The Saddlers were presented with a chance to double their advantage in the seventy-third minute, winning a corner which was played into the area by Osadebe, where it was met by Gordon, but the strikers headed effort sailed harmlessly wide.

Fifteen minutes from time, the Saddlers opted to make their first change of the evening, with Emmanuel Osadebe making way for Alfie Bates.

The game settled into something of a midfield battle as it continued, with little action of note until Crawley won a corner in the eighty-first minute, though the Saddlers were able to clear the danger and maintain their lead.

Moments after that, the hosts opted to make their fifth and final change of the evening, as Jake Hessenthaler made way for Davide Rodari.

The Walsall defences ensured there was little action of note in the final eight minutes of the game, and with eighty-nine minutes on the clock, the Saddlers opted to make their second change of the evening. Caolan Lavery the man to make way as Derick Osei-Yaw joined the action.

Five additional minutes were added to end the match, during which time the Saddlers successfully defended a Crawley corner before Gordon saw an effort blocked at the other end.

In the ninety-first minute, Nick Tsaroulla joined those listed in the referee's notebook, as he picked up a yellow card for a foul.

The Saddlers chose to make a late change to their side in the ninety-fourth minute, with Josh Gordon making way for Tyreik Wright.

Seconds before the final whistle sounded, Crawley were awarded a penalty, as Roberts caught Tunnicliffe whilst clearing the ball, with Liam also receiving a yellow card for the incident. Nichols stepped up to take the spot-kick and converted, levelling the scores.

That would be the final action of the game, and the two sides shared the spoils. A disappointing end to the evening for the Saddlers who had looked set to take all three points back to the Black Country

FT
CTFC
1-1
WFC
Nichols [P] (90+7')
Osadebe [P] (55')
VENUE
People's Pension Stadium
REFEREE
Tim Robinson

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