After continuing our impressive year-long unbeaten home run with a 2-1 victory over second-placed Cambridge United, the Reds travel to Banks’s Stadium tomorrow night to take on Walsall FC, who have drawn 7 of their 10 league games so far.
After dropping points at Exeter and Salford, despite strong performances on both nights, the Reds defeated Tranmere Rovers 4-0 in a wonderful game in West Sussex. After 13 minutes, Max Watters opened the scoring after latching onto a brilliant pass from Jack Powell which split the Tranmere defence and allowed Watters to tuck away and score his fifth of the season.
Tom Nichols doubled the lead on 21 minutes before Jordan Tunnicliffe met the cross of George Francomb to make it three in only 24 minutes. Tyler Frost replaced the impressive Sam Matthews in the second half to make his way back into the side, scoring after five minutes of being on the field with a composed finish.
Our next opponents were second-placed Cambridge United, who had scored 21 times in 9 games ahead of the fixture.
The Reds were confident and in high spirits, and this showed on the pitch. However, only three minutes in, Joe Ironside headed into the back of the net to put the away side ahead. But it was Crawley who pushed on and looked the sharper of the two sides in the first half, and a deserved goal followed just before the half-time whistle.
Scoring his sixth in as many games, Max Watters found the back of the net with a composed strike after a pass from Tom Nichols. And it was our No.16 who put us ahead in the second-half, connecting well with a Sam Matthews corner to score his fourth of the campaign.
Our opposition tomorrow have drawn seven times in ten league games, losing just once in a home fixture against Cambridge United only one week ago. Walsall have won two home league games this season, with a 1-0 win over Grimsby, and a 2-1 victory over Leyton Orient, with Rory Holden and Elijah Adebayo finding the net.
In the past three meetings between the two sides since 2019, The Reds won at Banks’s Stadium in a dramatic Carabao Cup clash to advance into the second round, with goals from Filipe Morais, Tom Dallison and Ashley Nadesan.
The Saddlers then travelled to The People’s Pension Stadium where the sides met in a league clash. The game ended 3-2, but this time to Walsall, who impressed in the first-half, scoring three times.
In January of 2020, we travelled back to Banks’s Stadium, this time with John Yems in charge. The Reds took the lead through Panutche Camara in the first-half, but were unable to hold onto the game, as Josh Gordon and Wes McDonald goals late in the second-half sunk the Reds who came away without a point.
Reds fans will remember the threat of winger Wes McDonald, who scored with a long-range effort late on last season. McDonald has pace, good technical ability and an eye for goal, and will surely be a tough target for the Reds tomorrow.
Elijah Adebayo leads the line for tomorrow’s hosts, and has scored on four occasions in the league this season. The 22-year-old is a strong, physical forward who can hold up the ball for the likes of McDonald and Holden.
The Saddlers are managed by Darrell Clarke, who was appointed on a three-year deal in May 2019.
Following Saturday’s victory, captain George Francomb will be unavailable for tomorrow’s clash due to injury. Jake Hesketh will also be absent after the midfielder was sent off late in Saturday’s game.
Reece Grego-Cox remains absent following his long-term injury suffered at Exeter City last season.
HOW THEY BET*
Walsall - 5/4
Draw - 12/5
Crawley Town - 11/5
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