The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE ONE - By Michael Beard­more

HIS name­sake may no longer grace the Cru­cible but on the day the World Snooker Cham­pi­onships be­gan, Crewe boss Steve Davis was left to rue a po­ten­tially costly trick shot.

Davis looked set to be the king of the safety game as Mar­cus Haber’s early header ap­peared likely to cue up a priceless four­point cush­ion over the drop zone.

How­ever, a hor­ri­ble de­flec­tion off Davis’ son and skip­per Harry handed Wal­sall’s Tom Bradshaw a late lev­eller, leav­ing Crewe two points off trou­ble and – while not need­ing snook­ers – still in dan­ger.

Davis said: “It was one of those fluky, loopy goals that hap­pen some­times. Th­ese things hap­pen, we just have to get on with it.

“If we could have got the ex­tra points to­day, we would have been on 51 with a four-point cush­ion even though other clubs have games in hand.

“We’ve got a two-point cush­ion so we’ll see how the other teams’ games go and we’re in there fight­ing with the rest of them.

“We’ve got Coven­try away and Brad­ford at home to fin­ish and we’re still con­fi­dent and pos­i­tive about what we’re do­ing.”

Crewe would have been safe al­ready, if not for their re­cent habit of throw­ing away leads.

And a frus­trated Davis added: “We were good first half, ex­cel­lent in our at­tack­ing play and re­ally on the front foot.

“But the sec­ond half was sim­i­lar to the last three games – we’ve led and ended up drawing be­cause we’ve not been able to stay on that front foot and sus­tain that amount of en­ergy and pres­sure. “You’re left scratch­ing your head a lit­tle bit as to why that keeps hap­pen­ing.”

Wal­sall keeper Richard O’Don­nell de­nied Crewe a fifth-minute opener as he clawed away Nicky Ajose’s spec­tac­u­lar 15-yard vol­ley on the turn. Haber then rat­tled the bar af­ter be­ing put clear but took just ten sec­onds to make up for the miss, beat­ing Andy Tay­lor to a far-post header and guiding home Ajose’s quick ball back in.

But Crewe sat back and were for­tu­nate to go in at the break ahead as Michael Cain lashed into the side netting from 20 yards and Tay­lor poked just wide af­ter a surge into the area.

Alex were sim­i­larly neg­a­tive af­ter the break and paid the price when Bradshaw’s shot looped up off cap­tain Davis and past keeper Paul Rachubka.

It was Bradshaw’s 18th goal of the sea­son, if it isn’t ad­judged an own goal, and se­cured Wal­sall’s own League One sta­tus.

Sad­dlers boss Dean Smith said: “It was a bit of a for­tu­nate goal with the de­flec­tion but over­all I thoughts our ef­forts prob­a­bly de­served that. Crewe can’t go above us now, un­less they win both games 7-0 and we lose 70 or some­thing like that.

“Colch­ester can’t go above us. All of the other seven teams down there could math­e­mat­i­cally but it will be tough for them to win all their games.

“I know Tom’s tar­get is 20 goals for the sea­son. That makes it 18 in all com­pe­ti­tions and a cou­ple more will give him 20 and it would be a su­perb achieve­ment for him.”

PIC­TURES: Me­dia Im­age

LEV­ELLER: Wal­sall’s lead­ing goalscorer Tom Bradshaw cel­e­brates with team mates

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