League One
CrawleyCrawley Town1WalsallWalsall0

Crawley substitute Conor Henderson's late free-kick earned three points against a wasteful Walsall.

Home goalkeeper Jamie Ashdown made two crucial saves from midfielder Romaine Sawyers to keep the score level.

Adam Chambers and Paul Downing then missed good chances for the visitors before their profligacy was punished.

With a minute left, Henderson curled a superb 25-yard free-kick over the wall into the top corner to condemn Walsall to a third straight league defeat.

With Crewe winning, the Saddlers drop to 23rd in League One, kept off the foot of the table by Scunthorpe United only on goal difference.

Michael Cain, on loan from Leicester City, made his Walsall debut in midfield, while Saddlers skipper Sam Mantom made a return late on for his first appearance of the season after a knee ligament injury.

Walsall manager Dean Smith told BBC WM:

"We've been undone cruelly at the end by a free-kick that wasn't a free-kick. Adam Chambers won the ball and then the referee puts the wall 11 yards back. That's difficult to take.

"But we were excellent. The only thing we didn't do was take our chances. You can't have 25 attempts and be worried. Another day you'll score five or six. But that's football for you. It can be a cruel game.

"Michael Cain came in and did a good job, slotting in seamlessly alongside Adam Chambers. And it's good to have Sam Mantom back as he's been missed."

Crawley Town assistant manager Paul Groves told BBC Surrey:

"It was important for us that we got back to getting a clean sheet and that's our ninth clean sheet so we are in the right direction.

"Understandably the fans towards the end of the game, they want you to push for the game but we were aware of conceding goals and we wanted to build on from another clean sheet.

"Conor Henderson has come up with a bit of quality and that can always happen, so for us tonight the win was massive, the clean sheet was huge, the application, the attitude, the commitment from the players was fantastic."

Line-ups

Crawley

  • 25Ashdown
  • 2OyebanjoBooked at 26mins
  • 5LeacockBooked at 73mins
  • 12Walsh
  • 26Sadler
  • 7Edwards
  • 8SmithSubstituted forHendersonat 68'minutes
  • 14Young
  • 33ElliottBooked at 86mins
  • 11SimpsonSubstituted forBawlingat 77'minutes
  • 9McLeodSubstituted forHarroldat 81'minutes

Substitutes

  • 1Jensen
  • 4Henderson
  • 6Bradley
  • 15Banya
  • 18Harrold
  • 20Bawling
  • 21Tomlin

Walsall

  • 1O'Donnell
  • 2Purkiss
  • 6Downing
  • 15Chambers
  • 3Taylor
  • 7ChambersBooked at 88mins
  • 10Sawyers
  • 11BaxendaleBooked at 45minsSubstituted forGrimesat 74'minutes
  • 12Cain
  • 27FordeSubstituted forMantomat 90+2'minutes
  • 21CookSubstituted forMansetat 79'minutes

Substitutes

  • 4O'Connor
  • 8Mantom
  • 13MacGillivray
  • 14Benning
  • 18Morris
  • 24Grimes
  • 37Manset
Referee:
Keith Stroud
Attendance:
2,204

Match Stats

Home TeamCrawleyAway TeamWalsall
Possession
Home50%
Away50%
Shots
Home5
Away25
Shots on Target
Home3
Away6
Corners
Home5
Away8
Fouls
Home15
Away12

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Crawley Town 1, Walsall 0.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Crawley Town 1, Walsall 0.

  3. Post update

    James Chambers (Walsall) wins a free kick on the right wing.

  4. Post update

    Foul by Lewis Young (Crawley Town).

  5. Post update

    Corner, Crawley Town. Conceded by Sam Mantom.

  6. Substitution

    Substitution, Walsall. Sam Mantom replaces Anthony Forde.

  7. Post update

    Corner, Walsall. Conceded by Mat Sadler.

  8. Goal!

    Goal! Crawley Town 1, Walsall 0. Conor Henderson (Crawley Town) from a free kick with a left footed shot to the top left corner.

  9. Booking

    Adam Chambers (Walsall) is shown the yellow card.

  10. Post update

    Conor Henderson (Crawley Town) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  11. Post update

    Foul by Adam Chambers (Walsall).

  12. Booking

    Marvin Elliott (Crawley Town) is shown the yellow card.

  13. Post update

    Foul by Marvin Elliott (Crawley Town).

  14. Post update

    Romaine Sawyers (Walsall) wins a free kick on the right wing.

  15. Post update

    Attempt missed. Ashley Grimes (Walsall) right footed shot from the centre of the box is too high.

  16. Post update

    Foul by Matt Harrold (Crawley Town).

  17. Post update

    Paul Downing (Walsall) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  18. Post update

    Hand ball by Mathieu Manset (Walsall).

  19. Post update

    Delay over. They are ready to continue.

  20. Post update

    Delay over. They are ready to continue.

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