THE SADDLERS came home from a rain-soaked Brentford with a deserved share of the spoils in a 1-1 draw.
Walsall started by seeing plenty of the early ball and forced a couple of corners in the opening five minutes, which came to nothing.
Some hesitation by Manny Smith presented John Bostock with a shooting chance that Clayton Ince did well to push out.
At the other end, Darren Byfield's effort from a tight angle failed to trouble debutant goalkeeper, Woljciech Szvczesny, who was making his first appearance for The Bees having arrived on loan from Arsenal.
The home side took the lead in the tenth minute when a cross from the left found the head of Ben Strevens whose effort beat Ince despite the 'keeper getting his hand to the ball.
With their tails up, the home side went close as Bostock drilled in a powerful strike that Ince did well to push out to safety.
After Myles Weston had caused problems for his namesake, Rhys, The Saddlers went down the other end and Byfield was denied by a brave block from Szvczesny. As the ball fell out to Troy Deeney, his low drive was deflected wide.
A foul on Deeney five minutes before the break presented Matt Richards with a free-kick in a dangerous position which he fired into the defensive wall.
The second period started with Deeney looking to make an early impact only to drag his effort well off target.
Shortly afterwards, strike partner, Byfield found space to break into but his ball across goal was well gathered by the 'keeper.
The equalising goal duly arrived on 67 minutes when Byfield did well to unsettle the Brentford defence and as they failed to clear their lines, Steve Jones was alive to fire home with a low strike.
It was a richly-deserved equaliser as Chris Hutchings' side found themselves on top and looking the most likely side.
Mark Bradley linked up well with Deeney on the edge of the area to create room for a strike that Szvczesny saved.
As the clock ticked down, Richards produced another quality free-kick that landed inches wide following a foul on the industrious Dwayne Mattis. Then, Byfield teed up Bradley but the Wales Under-21 International was off the mark.
Sam Parkin entered the action for the final five minutes in place of Deeney just moments before the home side thought they had nicked a winner, however their celebrations were cut short by an offside flag.
The game was still very much in the balance in the closing stages and could have gone either way with both sides going for the winner in the wet conditions following relentless rain.
In the end, both teams settled for a share of the spoils and will meet again in seven days time in the FA Cup second round.
PHOTOS: Kevin Grice