THE SADDLERS suffered a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Exeter City at St. James' Park this afternoon.
Netan Sansara, Rhys Weston and Manny Smith came into the side that lost to Southend United on Tuesday, replacing the injured Matt Richards and Dwayne Mattis plus the suspended Clayton McDonald respectively.
The home side started strongly and took the lead inside four minutes as skipper Matt Taylor headed home from close range.
The Grecians continued to dominate proceedings and the ever-green Marcus Stewart almost doubled their lead in the 15th minute. Thankfully for The Saddlers his effort went narrowly wide
The Saddlers began to find their feet as the half wore on though and went in search of an equaliser. However, chances were at a premium.
Home goalkeeper, Paul Jones, made a number of decent stops, including an excellent tip around the post, to ensure the hosts lead at the break.
Despite a positive end to the opening 45, the second-half began in a similar fashion to that of the first-half with Exeter on top.
The game's major turning point occurred in the 58th minute as Exeter were awarded a penalty when Barry Corr was brought down by Jamie Vincent. The incident appeared to take place outside the box but, despite lengthy consultation with his assistant, referee Trevor Kettle pointed to the spot. Ryan Harley stepped up to make it 2-0.
Despite the setback, The Saddlers kept plugging away and were back in the game just past the hour mark as Julian Gray curled home a sublime 18-yard effort around a crowd of players to reduce the deficit to 2-1.
From that moment onwards it was The Saddlers who enjoyed the lion's share of possession but, in spite of this, the home side stood strong to ensure a second successive away defeat for Chris Hutchings' men, who are once again on their travels next weekend with a trip to Stockport County.
Pictures by Kevin Grice. Click here for the full photo gallery from St. James' Park.