Craig Westcarr scored twice in four second-half minutes as Crewe Alexandra fell to a 3-0 home defeat to Walsall at Gresty Road.
The visitors went ahead through Westcarr’s deflected strike on 66 minutes before he added another from the penalty spot after being fouled by Gregor Robertson. Substitute James Baxendale supplied a late third.
Manager Steve Davis named an unchanged side and witnessed Vadaine Oliver receiving early treatment before Mark Ellis headed over from a Lee Molyneux corner.
Chuks Aneke saw an effort blocked while Westcarr’s shot lacked sufficient power from Ashley Hemmings’ cross. It was a similar outcome for Brad Inman at the other end after Aneke had already hoisted over from distance.
The on loan Arsenal midfielder was also wide of the mark from inside the area following the break before Oliver headed over from Matt Tootle’s delivery to the far post.
But when the opening goal came it went the way of the visitors, with goalkeeper Steve Phillips initially denying Andy Butler before Westcarr fired in with the aid of a slight deflection.
Then after Troy Hewitt struck another opportunity into the side-netting, AJ Leitch-Smith poked wide in reply after Oliver had knocked on a long ball.
However, Crewe skipper Abdul Osman was caught in possession and Robertson tripped Westcarr in the box – Westcarr easily sending Phillips the wrong way from the spot before almost adding another with an excellent volley.
Walsall weren’t about to be denied though and substitute Baxendale went around Ellis to add a third goal with six minutes remaining.
There was still enough time for Max Clayton to drag wide and Anthony Grant to produce a first significant save from Richard O’Donnell, whose opposite number Phillips turned Nicky Featherstone’s late effort onto the crossbar.
Crewe Alexandra: Phillips, Tootle, Davis, Ellis, Robertson, Osman (Clayton 75), Inman, Molyneux (Moore 71), Aneke, Leitch-Smith, Oliver (Grant 70)
subs (unused): Garratt, Mellor, Turton, Guthrie
Walsall: O’Donnell, Taylor, Butler, Downing, J. Chambers, Featherstone, A. Chambers (Sawyers 85), Mantom, Hemmings (Baxendale 78), Westcarr, Hewitt (Lalkovic 86)
subs (unused): Roberts, Benning, Purkiss, McQuilkin
Goals: Westcarr (66, pen 69), Baxendale (84)
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