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17:36 17th October 2009


THE SADDLERS swept to a convincing 3-0 victory over Exeter City.

It was the visitors who made the more purposeful start and the experienced Marcus Stewart dipped an early effort over from distance before Matt Taylor saw a commanding header land over.

A curling effort from distance by Ryan Harley was destined for the top corner in the tenth minute until Rene Gilmartin got his fingertips to the ball to claw it away.

Walsall forced two corners in quick succession on the quarter-hour mark, the second of which found its way out to Rhys Weston whose powerful drive was deflected away from goal by Harley, who then tried his luck at the other end shortly afterwards only to be denied by Gilmartin.

The Saddlers took the lead on 28 minutes when a low ball across the box from the left by Byfield found its way to Jones who had time to line up a shot that he lashed home beyond Andy Marriott in The Grecians' goal.

The goal breathed life into Walsall and Byfield went close as he drilled in a low effort that whistled just the wrong side of the post.

Chris Hutchings was forced into a change when Gilmartin picked up a hamstring strain that ended his involvement in the action as Clayton Ince returned between the posts.

Right on half-time the lead was doubled when a positive run by Jones ended with him firing home beyond Marriott.

Jones celebrates v Exeter 1 WEB

The second period got underway with a raid by the visitors that ended with Mark Hughes scarmbling clear from in front of goal.

A foul by Jones gave Exeter a free-kick in a good position which Alex Russell fired into the way as Ince gathered Harley's follow-up.

With 52 minutes on the clock, Jones was agonisingly close to a hat-trick when his curling effort beat Marriott only to be headed off the line by Dan Seaborne.

The visitors gained another free-kick in a promising position on the edge of the area following a foul by Jamie Vincent. Again Russell was thwarted by the defensive wall, whilst in the next attack, Adam Stansfield fired just over.

A well-worked free-kick ended with Mark Bradley, who was on World Cup duty with Wales in midweek, firing over.

Exeter were reduced to ten men on 66 minutes when obstruction by Richard Duffy on Byfield earned him a second yellow card and he made the short walk down the tunnel.

The Saddlers extended their lead three minutes later when a rather fortunate rebound in the middle of the park off Bradley set Deeney racing away with only the 'keeper to beat and he stayed cool to slot home and wrap up the points.

With our tails up, some neat link-up play between Deeney and Byfield saw the latter drag his effort wide before the lively Jones cut inside in the next attack only to see his effort deflected wide.

Byfield was replaced by Sam Parkin and he was staright into the action causing problems from a corner as the ball was eventually cleared by the Exeter rear-guard.

On 80 minutes Steve Tully found space at the far post and his effort struck Manny Smith to land just inches wide as The Saddlers breathed a collective sigh of relief.

A good ball by Matt Richards played in Deeney who in turn held the ball up well before finding Jones for a stinging strike that Marriott did well to save.

The resulting flag-kick found its way out to Dwayne Mattis who came close to adding to the scoring.

With Alex Nicholls on in place of Deeney, Stansfield went close for the visitors as Rhys Weston was booked for kicking the ball away.

In the end, Walsall claimed a deserved three points.

PHOTOS: David Linney Photography


    Data provided by Press Association


    For the first 50 years of their existence, England played their home matches all around the country.