BEN COMES TO CREWE’S RESCUE
STEVE Davis lauded the performance of goalkeeper Ben Garratt after battling Crewe came from behind to rescue a point against high-flying Walsall.
A Tom Bradshaw penalty had put the Saddlers ahead in a first half dominated by the visitors but an early second-half header from Brad Inman earned the Railwaymen a hard-fought point.
Walsall attacked freely for large periods but met their match in Garratt, who produced a string of crucial saves in both halves, satisfying a grateful Davis.
He said: “It’s a good result. We could have been down early in the game. They had some great chances, Ben made a couple of great saves, they hit the bar and should’ve scored.
“We could have been three down after 15 minutes. It was a really poor start.We talked about it at half-time and then because they hadn’t taken their chances we’ve got a chance.
“We gradually got into the game. It was end-to-end. It was quite exciting.The second half was a real battle. Ben made some terrific saves and kept us in the game.”
The Saddlers shot out of the traps, with Romaine Sawyers’ pull back finding Bradshaw who shot straight at Garratt.
Bradshaw returned the favour a minute later but Sawyers’ low shot was held by Garratt who then denied Matt Preston as the visitors showed why they have the best away record in English league football with a dominant opening display.
When Milan Lalkovic found Bradshaw inside the six-yard box, this time the underside of the crossbar came to Crewe’s rescue, when a goal looked like the only outcome.The visitors were awarded a penalty on 32 minutes when George Cooper was adjudged to have handled in the box, which Bradshaw duly converted.
Shortly after the break Crewe drew level when Semi Ajayi headed a David Fox free-kick back across goal before Inman nodded the ball into the net for his sixth goal in as many matches.
Walsall pushed hard but found Garratt in imperious form – first tipping a fizzing shot from Bradshaw round the post at full stretch before denying Lalkovic moments later. Substitute Rico Henry had a chance late on but could only volley wide as the Saddlers had to settle for a point.
Walsall manager Sean O’Driscoll said: “I’m just really pleased with the level of performance from the lads again.
“That’s football I suppose. We could have been out of sight in the first ten minutes.
“If we’d have put two men in the wall we’d have had somebody in that space were Brad Inman came round and got the header. They’re the little details that sometimes cost you.
“I think all game Garratt’s kept them in it.
“If you go two or three goals up it’s extremely difficult for any team but 1-0 gives them a chance. “But the level of performance from this group has been terrific all season.”