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Dean Smith happy with Walsall after draw

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Manager Dean Smith praised the fantastic performance of his players despite Walsall being held to a 1-1 draw by Crewe.


The Saddlers, who remain second in League One, had to make do with just a point despite enjoying almost total domination at the Banks's Stadium.

A third minute Tom Bradshaw goal put them on course for a routine victory, but the Railwaymen hit back against the run of play through Ben Nugent.

Smith's side then piled forward to try and claim all three points but the likes of Anthony Forde, Jordan Cook and Kieron Morris all saw efforts well-saved by Crewe goalkeeper Ben Garratt.

Despite the result, Smith was pleased with the performance, especially following Wednesday's Capital One Cup clash with Chelsea.

He said: "It was an excellent performance - I was really pleased with the reaction from Wednesday night and 'the Lord Mayor show.'

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"The reaction was fantastic and the performance was brilliant. The pleasing thing is I have got a lot of respect for what Crewe do - the philosophy they have got and how they play.

"To play like that and outperform them is very pleasing. It did feel like there was a bit of a force-field around their goal, at times.

"It was just one of those days. The fans stayed with us all game. They were clapping us off at the end because they could see the effort the lads had put in."

Walsall created 21 chances in the game, with Bradshaw opening the scoring from one of 14 corners.

Smith said: "The goal was a good header and I felt we were a threat from corners today. Whenever we got the ball into the box, I felt our movement was good.

"We were aggressive and, on another day, we would have scored five or six."

Meanwhile, Smith admitted his was disappointed with Nugent's goal which came after Paul Downing gave away a cheap free-kick.

The Saddlers boss added: "It was a poor free-kick that we gave away. We gave them an opportunity to put the ball into the box.

"We should have cleared it but we didn't. It was a great strike from the lad to be fair – from outside the box."