17/08/2019 3:00 pm
Referee: Alan Young
Eddie Nolan scored the only goal of the game as Crewe Alexandra defeated Walsall at the Alexandra Stadium yesterday afternoon despite a red card for home debutant Olly Lancashire, a result that saw the hosts move into the top 6 at this early stage of the season.
Manager Dave Artell made 3 changes from Tuesday night’s penalty win at Middlesbrough in the EFL Cup as he reverted to the line-up that played at Oldham last week with Will Jaaskelainen returning in goal, Paul Green came into midfield while Daniel Powell returned after an illness. Dropping out of the team were Dave Richards, Callum Ainley and Owen Dale, who all were substitutes alongside James Jones, Ollie Finney, Nicky Hunt and Lewis Reilly.
The opening effort came in the fourth minute with forward Caolan Lavery skewing the ball wide from near the penalty spot from an unmarked position for the visitors before right wing-back Cameron Norman had a chance from distance that was saved by Jaaskelainen. The first Alex chance came on 21 minutes with Chris Porter having a shot blocked with Harry Pickering later having a shot with his right foot from outside the area.
Into the second half, Porter almost turned in a deflected effort from Pickering moments after the break before the Alex left-back was denied by goalkeeper Liam Roberts after his drive was saved. The opening goal came on the hour-mark, just after a double change for the visitors, with a corner played out to Perry Ng and his deflected shot fell into the path of the Irishman Nolan who took a touch to set himself to smash into the bottom corner.
Dale replaced Powell in the 71st minute after the starting wideman not feeling 100% and Lancashire was booked a couple of minutes later for a sliding challenge. Walsall would have a chance on 84 minutes with Dan Scarr heading over from a corner before the Alex would counter from another corner with Ng finding Tom Lowery who couldn’t get the finish he needed. Lancashire would pick up a second yellow for an off-the-ball tangle with substitute Elijah Adebayo but the Alex held on for the win.
There are two away games in the next week with a trip to Crawley Town on Tuesday night before a trip to Newport County next Saturday.
What can we take out of this game?
It was one of those games where we didn’t play particularly well but won, we’ll definitely be better in games this season and not pick up all 3 points. I think that we just edged the game with Will not tested at all barring a couple of long-range efforts while we forced the Walsall defence to put a couple of decent blocks in during the early minutes of the second half.
If we can get at least 3 points, maybe 4, then we’ll be sitting in a good position ahead of the Bradford home game at the end of the month.