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18:04 15th September 2012
By  Andrew Poole

Victory at Portsmouth

THE SADDLERS stepped out in glorious September south coast sunshine as we made our first visit to Portsmouth for a decade.

An early strike from former Pompey youngster, Flo Cuvelier failed to trouble the home 'keeper as he was alert to a loose ball in the midfield.

In the sixth minute, Dean Holden did well to deny Izale McLeod as he broke into the area with purpose.

Some space opened up in front of Brian Howard who curled just wide as Pompey looked to get hold of the game against a Saddlers' side determined ti play neat football.

A well-worked free-kick on the left by the home side saw Luke Rodgers feed Lee Williamson, but Walsall defended in numbers to block.

With 24 minutes on the clock, Darel Russell had a free header from a corner that went wide of the target.

A foul just past the half-hour by Holden on McLeod gave Pompey another free-kick in a threatening position. This time Rodgers tried his luck but was just off target.

There was a let-off for the home side in the 36th minute as George Bowerman's pull back to Jamie Paterson saw him hit a sweet strike that Mikkel Andersen kept out with fine reactions.

As half-time approached, James Baxendale linked up with Paterson to find Bowerman who failed to get hold of his effort which was easy for the 'keeper.

HALF-TIME: Portsmouth 0 Walsall 0

The early action of the second period saw David Grof make a smart double save to deny Izale McLeod and Luke Rodgers from close range but the offside flag was already raised.

The Saddlers took the lead on 55 minutes when Ashley Hemmings did well wide on the left to escape his marker and find James Baxendale whose lashed the ball into the top corner from distance to make it 1-0.

The advantage was doubled shortly afterwards when Bowerman won a free-kick on the right side of the area and as the ball came in from Paterson it was cleared only as far as Cuvelier who fired home for another sweet finish for Walsall.

The Saddlers' first change saw Baxendale replaced by Will Grigg on 66 minutes.

The home side pulled a goal back on 70 minutes when Walsall failed to clear a corner properly and the ball fell to McLeod who guided an effort beyond the reach of David Grof to make it 2-1.

As expected, The Saddlers having to soak up some pressure from the home side. Brian Howard fired into the side-netting with less than ten minutes left on the clock.

A long-range drive from Jamie Paterson in the 86th minute rattled the crossbar.

Richard Taundry took the place of Ashley Hemmings as the clock ticked down.

In stoppage time, Bowerman did well to nick the ball and set up Grigg whose low effort sailed inches wide.

The Saddlers held on to claim an excellent three points as our unbeaten League run continued in the Portsmouth sunshine. Bring on Stevenage!

FULL-TIME: Portsmouth 1 Walsall 2

WALSALL: David Grof, Andy Butler, Dean Holden, Nicky Featherstone, Flo Cuvelier, Jamie Paterson, Ashley Hemmings (Richard Taundry), Ben Purkiss, George Bowerman, James Baxendale (Will Grigg), Andy Taylor.

    Data provided by Press Association


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