Steve has a strong squadron once more

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

DEAN Saun­ders ad­mit­ted that late dra­mas are cost­ing him sleep as Bur­ton’s im­pres­sive League One band­wagon bounded on.

Sub­sti­tute Jerome Bin­nom-Wil­liams sent the vis­it­ing hordes into rap­tures with a thrilling in­jury-time win­ner.

Bit it also left Ch­ester­field boss Saun­ders curs­ing third time un­lucky.

“We con­ceded late against Wi­gan and Colch­ester and for it to hap­pen again is a kick in the teeth for ev­ery­one at the club,” he said.

“We’ve lost four or five of our bet­ter play­ers and I wouldn’t ex­pect ev­ery­thing to be right straight­away, but we are good go­ing for­ward and not so good go­ing the other way.

“I am not go­ing to sleep tonight af­ter this. We may have to sac­ri­fice some of our flair to get the bal­ance right.”

Saun­ders, though, should take con­so­la­tion from the rich part his side played in a mag­nif­i­cent match. Slick-mov­ing Al­bion thor­oughly de­served their vic­tory and will take some top­pling off the top of the ta­ble on this form.

They made light of a sec­ond-minute Jon McLaugh­lin flap at Dan Gard­ner’s cor­ner that al­lowed Sam Hird to send a close-range header into the cor­ner of the net.

Ch­ester­field regularly had to put bod­ies on the line to re­pel some ex­cel­lent Bur­ton pass­ing move­ments.

Lu­cas Akins sent one glo­ri­ous firsthalf chance wide af­ter ten min­utes for Bur­ton whilst Gboly Ariy­ibi’s header bounced ag­o­nis­ingly past the post af­ter a fine run by Gard­ner.

Bur­ton’s equaliser ar­rived just 34 sec­onds af­ter the restart when the out­stand­ing Nasser El-Khay­ati smug­gled the ball through to Stu­art Beavon to nudge home at the near post.

Akins blazed over when well placed and then nearly snapped the bar as the visi­tors threat­ened to run riot.

Rob­bie Weir pro­duced a mo­ment of magic with a long-range shot that was nar­rowly too high.

Bur­ton were pro­duc­ing the football, yet the home side were al­ways dan­ger­ous from high balls – a com­bi­na­tion that had the out­come in doubt un­til the fran­tic fi­nal mo­ments.

Ch­ester­field’s Ar­mand Gnan­duil­let was de­nied by a su­perb stop from McLaugh­lin be­fore Bin­nom-Wil­liams broke from the half­way line with pace and poise to slide his shot be­yond Tommy Lee.

De­lighted Bur­ton man­ager Jimmy Floyd Has­sel­baink paid trib­ute to the fans – with­out join­ing in their ‘We are top of the league’ chant.

“The sup­port we got was great and the play­ers are very, very grate­ful – but I’m not look­ing at the league ta­ble,” he said.

“We were sloppy for ten min­utes but, af­ter that, the game was all about us.We de­served our vic­tory.

“Our goal­keeper has had to make some saves, es­pe­cially from free-kicks, but we stayed calm and true to our be­liefs.

“We’ve played good, pos­i­tive, en­er­getic at­tack­ing football that was beau­ti­ful to the eye as well.

“I put fresh legs on and the win­ner came just in time which made for a thrilling fin­ish for the fans.” CREWE’S boot camp train­ing paid off as they sur­vived the Alamo to some­how claim a point at high-fly­ing Wal­sall.

Boss Steve Davis took his strug­gling Rail­way­men on a mid­week army-style train­ing ex­er­cise in the Lake Dis­trict by way of a team bond­ing mis­sion.

And it cer­tainly paid off as Crewe with­stood a sec­ond-half siege from the Sad­dlers – even if Davis felt his troops might have been fa­tigued by their mil­i­tary ex­er­tions.

Davis said:“The dif­fi­cult thing was we haven’t had time to do enough football be­cause of the re­cov­ery time they needed.

“The day we had there took a lot out of them phys­i­cally and there were signs of that but men­tally they looked strong.

“Our keeper made some good saves when he needed to and we de­fended very well, par­tic­u­larly in the box, block­ing shots and win­ning sec­ond balls.

“It’s a tough league but what we don’t want to be is just sur­vivors.We want to be­lieve we can be bet­ter than that and I think this last week has given us a lot more belief that we can.”

Crewe cer­tainly needed a drill sergeant’s wake-up call early on as their doz­ing de­fence left Sad­dlers top scorer Tom Brad­shaw un­marked to head Wal­sall in front from a cor­ner just three min­utes in.

How­ever, Alex de­fender Ben Nu­gent showed the ben­e­fits of tar­get prac­tice to bring them level on 18 min­utes, sweep­ing home a striker’s fin­ish from the edge of the area.

From there it was a Wal­sall on­slaught as, ei­ther side of the break, Brad­shaw lashed wide from 20 yards and saw a stoop­ing header clawed away by Crewe keeper Ben Gar­ratt.

Both sides fluffed chances – Crewe’s Adam King from ten yards on a rare counter and Wal­sall’s An­thony Forde from even closer when any touch would have been enough.

Wal­sall should have won it but Jason Demetriou’s 25yard rocket clipped the bar, Gar­ratt fisted away scream­ers from Jor­dan Cook and Kieron Mor­ris, and Brad­shaw skied a ten-yard volley at the death. The Sad­dlers stayed sec­ond de­spite drop­ping two points and boss Dean Smith was pleased with the dis­play af­ter his side’s own mid­week ‘drill’ against Chelsea in the League Cup.

Smith said:“It felt like there was a bit of a force­field around their goal.

“The ball wouldn’t drop for us, we’ve hit the bar, their keeper is mak­ing dou­ble saves.

“It would have been easy for it to be ‘af­ter the Lord Mayor’s Show’ fol­low­ing the Chelsea game in mid­week, but the re­ac­tion was fan­tas­tic and our per­for­mance was ex­cel­lent.”

PIC­TURES: Media Im­age




Al­bion Bur­ton LEVEL: Stu­art Beavon of Bur­ton scores the equaliser. Inset: Nasser ElKhay­ati has a shot


TT Crewe

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