Match Report: Crewe Alexandra 2 Walsall 0 Match Report: Crewe Alexandra 2 Walsall 0

Match Report: Crewe Alexandra 2 Walsall 0

Here is our Match Report from the Saddlers' League Two meeting with Crewe Alexandra.
Walsall were back in action on Saturday afternoon as they made the trip to Gresty Road where they took on Crewe Alexandra with the Saddlers hoping to secure just their third league win in 2023.

Crewe began the game brightly, winning a free-kick in a dangerous position just two minutes into the contest, as Daniel Agyei was fouled by Manny MonthΓ©.

Callum Ainley crossed the ball in from the set-piece, with Rodney McDonald getting a head to it to turn it home, and put his side ahead.

Walsall looked respond quickly to falling a goal behind, with Liam Gordon playing in Isaac Hutchinson, in the fourth minute, but the effort on goal from outside the area, sailed wide of the target, moments before Conor Wilkinson saw a headed effort from the centre of the box fly narrowly wide of the upright.

The visitors continued to enjoy a decent spell, with Tom Knowles going close in the eighth minute, however, his effort on goal from outside the box, was deflected away from the target.

The game settled a little as it continued, with both sides enjoying time with the ball, without creating anything that would trouble their opposition defences.

Walsall went close again in the nineteenth minute, as Knowles swung a cross into the area, where Joe Low was waiting to head goal-wards, but the defenders header sailed inches over the crossbar.

With twenty-five minutes on the clock, Crewe doubled their advantage, as a ball into the area was picked up by Christopher Long, who saw a deflected effort nestle in the bottom corner.

Walsall responded to the goal by making a double change to their line-up, in the twenty-eighth minute with Liam Kinsella and Joe Low making way for Joss Labadie and Joe Riley.

Crewe went close to securing a third goal, as we reached the half hour mark, winning a corner as Riley turned the ball behind, which was swing into the area by Joel Tabiner for Elliott Nevitt, whose header from close range sailed wide.

The hosts continued to press, going close again three minutes later, as Agyei fired goal-wards  from twenty yards out, but his curling effort sailed inches wide of the far post.

Five minutes later, the hosts won a corner, as a looping header from Charlie Finney, was deflected behind by Hutchinson, though nothing would come of the flag-kick as the Walsall defences cleared the danger.

Two additional minutes were added to end the first-half, during which time Walsall went close to pulling a goal back, as Liam Gordon crossed the ball in for Jamille Matt, but the strikers effort was turned behind by Luke Offord, and the resulting corner came to nothing.

That would be the final action of note, and the sides headed off to enjoy their half-time refreshments with Crewe leading by two-goals-to-nil.

HALF-TIME
CREWE 2-0 WALSALL

The teams returned unchanged after the break, and the action got back underway. Just three minutes after the action resumed, Joss Labadie became the first player to draw the attentions of the referee, as he was cautioned following a foul on Ainley.

Five minutes into the second-half, Crewe opted to make their first change of the afternoon, as Chris Long was replaced by Lachlan Brook.

With fifty-four minutes on the clock, the Alex chose to introduce a second substitute, with Callum Ainley making way for Tariq Uwakwe.

The recently introduced Brook almost put the game to bed, moments after the second change was completed, but his effort struck the post, though any goal would not have stood in the end anyway, as the linesman flag was raised for an offside offence.

The hosts continued to enjoy a bright spell, with Nevitt winning a corner for his side in the fifty-sixth minute, as he forced Gordon to put the ball behind. Tabiner swung the ball in low from the flag-kick, but nobody was able to get a touch to turn it home.

Walsall were reduced to ten men, as Joss Labadie received his marching orders in the sixty-first minute, after a foul on Uwakwe forced a second yellow to be waved in his direction. Walsall's assistant head coach, Wayne Hatswell was also sent to the stands following the incident.

Crewe almost put the game to bed, moments after the sendings off, as Nevitt forced a save from Walsall shot-stopper, Owen Evans, with the striker then turning the rebound wide.

Walsall opted to make a third change to their line-up, in the sixty-fifth minute, with Conor Wilkinson making way for Jacob Maddox.

Kelvin Mellor joined those already listed in the referee's notebook, in the sixty-seventh minute, as he was cautioned following a foul on Knowles.

Crewe continued to press, almost putting the game to bed in the sixty-eighth minute, as former Saddler, Agyei worked his way past Oisin McEntee and played in Tabiner, whose effort from the centre of the box was just a little too high, sailing over the crossbar, without causing too much concern to the Walsall shot-stopper.

The hosts opted to use all three of their available substitutions, in the seventy-second minute, with Elliott Nevitt, Kelvin Mellor and Charlie Finney making way for Courtney Baker-Richardson, Sean Robertson and Charlie Colkett.

Rod MacDonald joined those playing on a caution, in the seventy-ninth minute, as he was shown the yellow card following a foul on Matt.

Three minutes later, the collection of names grew further, with Tom Knowles added, as he was cautioned for arguing after a free-kick was awarded against him.

Knowles created an opportunity for his side to reduce the gap between the teams, in the eighty-third minute, as he raced goal-wards with the ball from some sixty yards out, but his eventual effort sailed wide of the upright.

Crewe won a corner in the eighty-fourth minute, as McEntee turned the ball out of play, but nothing would come of the flag-kick, and the Saddlers had soon worked the ball back up to the other end, where Brandon Comley combined with Hutchinson to create a chance on goal, but the latter's strike from some thirty-five yards out, sailed wide of the target.

FULL-TIME
CREWE 2-0 WALSALL
McDONALD (2')
LONG (25')
GOALSCORER

AT MORNFLAKE STADIUM
REFEREE CARL BOYESON
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