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REPORT | WALSALL 2-1 CRAWLEY TOWN

Reds have point snatched away with 92nd minute winner.

19 November 2022

Crawley had a point snatched away from their hands this evening as a stoppage-time goal from Danny Johnson secured all three points for the home side. The Reds took the lead through Telford, who wept home a Nadesan cross. Hayden White equalised almost immediately for Walsall. The Red Devils were dealt a killer blow before half-time as Ludwig Francillette was dismissed for a second bookable offence. The Reds huffed and puffed but in the second minute of five added on, Johnson blasted the ball past Balcombe, who was having a fine game in the Crawley net.

Crawley were playing well in the opening exchanges at the Poundland Bescot Stadium. Tom Nichols had won a couple of free-kicks, and Nick Tsaroulla looked bright on the left side as Crawley chased their first away win of the season.

The home side looked dangerous themselves and created the first real chance of the match, which required a very good save from Ellery Balcombe to keep the score level. A quick counter-attack from Walsall saw former Red Issac Hutchinson find Liam Gordon in space. Gordon opted to shoot first time. Balcombe read the shot well and beat it away for a corner.

Straight back up the other end, Crawley really turned on the heat and scored an excellent goal to go ahead in the match. Ashley Nadesan peeled away at the far post and cut the ball back expertly to Dom Telford, who tucked the ball sweetly under Owen Evans.

Unfortunately, Crawley’s lead lasted no longer than two minutes as Hayden White converted from a set-piece. White didn’t appear to make the initial contact, and the full-back may not have known a lot about it, but he got the all-important final touch that took the ball past Balcombe.

Crawley’s afternoon got a lot harder in the 39th minute as Ludwig Francillette was dismissed for a second bookable defence. The incidents were almost identical, as Francillette was penalised for bringing his man down with balls coming over the Crawley defence. Referee Darren Drysdale took his time with the second decision but eventually brandished the red card.

Dom Telford, who was having a good game, was forced to make way for Tony Craig.

Ellery Balcombe was having a fine game in the Crawley goal and made two excellent saves in the first four minutes of the second half. One came from close range as he smothered a shot from Tom Knowles. The second was a fine stop to tip an effort from range around the post.

Crawley got the odd chance at a counter-attack, and a slip from Donervon Daniels gave the Reds a flicker of hope. Nichols pounced on the ball and found Nadesan, who had a shot blocked by a Walsall defender.

Balcombe was producing a simply world-class performance. The Crawley shot-stopper stunned the crowd with a lighting quick reaction save from a header down to his right-hand side. Moments later, Ellery tipped an acrobatic effort from Knowles around the post. Balcombe was proving his worth this afternoon and was the only reason Crawley were not behind.

Walsall struck the post with ten minutes to go. Gordon fired a low cross into the box, which took a nasty flick inside the box and cannoned off of the upright.

Crawley battled for 92 minutes and had a point cruelly taken away from them when Danny Johnson fired in from inside the box. A ball was drilled into the box, and the striker took a touch and blasted the ball past Balcombe to snatch all three points for Walsall.

REDS XI: Balcombe, Francomb, Lynch, Powell, Nichols, Nadesan (90+1’), Francillette, Telford (Craig 39’), Tsaroulla, Jenks (Tilley 57’), Hessenthaler


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