Another game, another without a win. However this result fills me with more confidence than some of our previous outtings.
Manager Dean Smith rightly made changes to the side that were beaten by Lincoln City in midweek. In came Andy Taylor, Ashley Hemmings,Sam Mantom and Will Grigg. problems.
The first chance of the afternoon fell to Will Grigg. Andy Taylor delivered in a sublime ball but the Northern Ireland forward headed wide from close range. He should have done better.
Not long after that chance, we took the lead. A superb ball from Jamie Paterson found Febian Brandy whose shot brisked off a Crawley defender into the net to put us in front. Brandy’s first goal in a Saddlers shirt.
In typical Walsall fashion, less than 10 minutes after taking the lead we conceeded. Jonathan Forte threaded a ball through to Billy Clarke who fired an unstoppable shot past loanee goalkeeper Aaron McCarey.
HT Crawley 1-1 Walsall
Ten minutes after the restart, Jamie Paterson nearly had a contender for goal of the season as his 18 yard dipping shot hit the bar. Jamie Paterson was the pick of the Walsall team today and put some confidence back into the fans that he actually can be bothered!
With 15 minutes left on the clock, the Saddlers took the lead again. A shot by Sam Mantom was parried by Crawley’s goalkeeper only to the feet of Ashley Hemmings who placed it out of the keepers reach to put the Saddlers on course for their first win in 12.
Could we hang on??…..No.
Less than 10 minutes after our goal deja vu struck again, as we found the ball in our net for the 38th time this season!
This time however it wasnt poor defending or a scorcher of a goal, we were punished by the referee. McCarey seemed to have been nudged off the ball by Nicky Ajose as Jonathan Forte headed in the equaliser.
Walsall were given a lifeline late on when Joe Walsh was sent off for his reckless challenge on Brandy when the striker was clean through. However in the final 8 minutes Walsall failed to make the extra man count but came away with an important point.
FT Crawley 2-2 Walsall
Before the game we would have been happy with a point, but to be leading twice is dissapointing. However we can take some postives out the game – the performance of Febian Brandy and the resurgence of Jamie Paterson.
Following our recent performances it is good to see the players step up and put on a performance like that. This can only install confidence in a side now winless in 13.
Next up for Walsall is league leaders Tranmere on Tuesday.