Crewe 1-0 Walsall: Veteran defender Eddie Nolan wins it for Railwaymen
Last Updated: 17/08/19 7:52pm
Veteran defender Eddie Nolan hit a classy second-half finish as Crewe edged Walsall 1-0.
The Railwaymen finished with 10 men after defender Olly Lancashire was red carded late on, but they held on after Nolan, who had thwarted Josh Gordon with a decisive tackle in the first half, put his side ahead with only his fifth career goal.
Walsall were the better side before the break, but new striker Caolan Lavery wasted a glorious early chance by lashing wide with the goal gaping.
The Saddlers lived dangerously after the break as Harry Pickering's deflected effort across the face of goal forced a great save out of Liam Roberts.
Crewe's pressing paid off when Nolan made an impact at the other end of the pitch after a shot from Perry Ng ricocheted into his path and he dispatched a low finish into the bottom corner in the 61st minute.
The hosts pushed for a second, with Chris Porter being thwarted by Roberts and Charlie Kirk putting the rebound home, only to be ruled offside.
Lancashire, already in the book, was dismissed in the 89th minute for a push on substitute Elijah Adebayo, but Walsall were unable to respond.