Crewe 0-3 Walsall: Davis Slams Side Whilst Victory Delights Smith

Crewe boss Steve Davis slammed his Alex team after they were humbled by Walsall at Gresty Road.

A hattrick of second half goals helped the Saddlers to their first win over Crewe since 2001, and saw the hosts fall to their first home defeat of the season.

And Davis exclaimed: “I’m really disappointed.

“We didn’t show any fight or character.

“The full-backs were poor, the wingers didn’t do anything of real note and there was no aerial threat upfront.

“Nobody played with any real quality, composure or skill.

“I’ve had a lengthy chat with the players and they need to know it’s nowhere near good enough.”

For an hour, it looked like the game would end 0-0 as Walsall’s five-man midfield sucked the life out of any attacking play.

And the visitors had shown no intent themselves until Alex ‘keeper Steve Phillips produced a stunning save at point blank range to deny Andy Butler.

Moments later, Walsall took the lead as the ball fell to Craig Westcarr in the box, and he fired home a deflected shot to make it 1-0.

Ajay Leitch-Smith could have levelled immediately, but he saw his poked effort role agonisingly past the far post.

And at that point, Crewe imploded, as just three minutes later the Saddlers doubled their lead.

Westcarr was once again heavily involved, as he scored from the penalty spot after being clumsily bundled over by Gregor Robertson in the area.

Alex attempted to get back into the game, with Anthony Grant stinging the fingers of Richard O’Donnell with a long-range drive, whilst substitute Max Clayton miscued an effort off target.

But it was Walsall who completed the scoring, as on 84-minutes James Baxendale was put through one-on-one with Phillips before coolly slotting home the third.

And it could have been four for the visitors, as Sam Mantom smashed an effort against the crossbar from outside the box in second half injury time.

Despite Crewe’s dreadful display, Davis insisted his side could have got something out of the game if they’d scored first.

“There were no real chances at either end in the first half,” he continued.

“We had a couple of little chances but once they scored the goal we didn’t show any fight to get back in the game.

“If we’d got that first goal I think things could’ve been very different.

“It’s just really stupid things that we’re doing, it’s frustrating.

“We’ve conceded poor goals all season, and we work with the players all week.

“But when it comes to the game, they don’t do it at all.

“I need to get to the bottom of it, and I’ve done everything I can at the moment to rectify it.”

Visiting boss Dean Smith however was delighted with his side’s perfect away performance.

The result was Walsall’s first victory in six and saw them keep only their second clean sheet of the season.

It took some time for the Saddlers to get into the game though, as they failed to produce a shooting opportunity in the first half.

At the other end, it was a similar story, with Mark Ellis heading over and Chuks Aneke firing tamely at O’Donnell for Crewe’s only chances.

But in truth, the Railwaymen rarely threatened throughout.

Walsall’s five-man midfield stifled most attacks as the hosts were restricted to long ball football, whilst strikers Leitch-Smith and Vadaine Oliver were marked out of the game.

And Smith enthused about the manner of the victory.

“It was a very good away day performance,” he said.

“I thought we controlled the ball possession wise first half, without being potent in the final third.

“The first half was more about possession than goalscoring chances.

“But in the second half, the first goal was pivotal, and once we got it, I thought it gave us a lot more belief and know how on the ball in the final third.

“The pressing when we won the penalty was fantastic.

“Craig Westcarr wins the first header, then Troy Hewitt and Ashley Hemmings are pressing.

“Westcarr then robs the lad and gets brought down – and he’s scored his penalty.

“We’re really pleased.

“It was a really professional performance and I was pleased with it.”

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