A 68th minute strike from Oli Finney earned Crewe a deserved win as they came from behind to beat Walsall 2-1 at the Banks’s Stadium to climb up to second in League Two.
Finney drove his powerful, low left-footed effort into the far corner of the net after perfectly timing his run into the box to meet Charlie Kirk’s lay-off, giving the division’s leading assist-maker his 11th of the season.
Crewe boss David Artell heaped praise on the 22 year-old after the Stoke-born midfielder scored the game’s match-winning goal to take his tally up to four for the season.
He said: “He’s got a terrific goal ratio, he’s in the team to score goals and that’s what he’s done today and it was a terrific finish.
“He made it look far easier than it was – the goalkeeper didn’t stand a chance really.”
The Railwaymen’s equalising goal came just five minutes after the interval as Harry Pickering’s in-swinging corner from the right was flicked on by skipper Perry Ng to an unmarked Daniel Powell to poke in from close range.
Caolan Lavery scored the Saddler’s only goal after a throw-in from the right was flicked on by Josh Gordon for the Irishman to latch onto as he ghosted past a static Luke Offord in the Crewe defence before coolly slotting under Will Jӓӓskelӓinen.
Artell also recognised the benefits of his side working on set-pieces in training as a well-choreographed corner produced Powell’s sixth goal of the season which sent the 860 travelling fans into raptures.
The former Gibraltar international said: “We’d worked on Daniel [Powell]’s movement off the goalkeeper on corners and it’s good to see that come to fruition. Long may it continue.
“We played with far more purpose with far more intent [in the second half]and that’s what I said at half time. I said ‘go and impose what you are on them.’ That’s how life works, let alone football.
“We gave them the initiative [in the first half]but we took the game by the scruff of the neck in the second half and deservedly won.”
The Alex’s scintillating second half display allowed them to stretch their unbeaten streak to five in the league and keep the pace on leaders Swindon Town.
Crewe’s next fixture in the league is next Saturday as they host Oldham at Gresty Road looking to continue their charge towards the summit of League Two.