THE SADDLERS stepped out with real purpose for the visit of Stevenage.
The early action saw Jimmy Smith line up a low strike that took a wicked deflection as Richard O'Donnell saved well.
A foul on Craig Westcarr gave Walsall a free-kick in a good position. Andy Taylor stepped up and beat the wall but not the 'keeper who saved well.
The Saddlers took the lead on 11 minutes when Ashley Hemmings did well on the left and his low ball into the area found Romaine Sawyers who slotted home to make it 1-0.
An inviting ball in from the left by Stevenage saw Andy Taylor alert to clear ahead of Francois Zoko.
There was a spell of good pressure inside the area from Walsall as Sawyers held the ball up for Mantom to see his strike blocked and then as Taylor followed up, his strike was saved by the legs of the 'keeper as it came through a crowd of players.
Walsall playing some nice stuff and really getting into our stride as the first half goes on.
HALF-TIME: Walsall 1 Stevenage 0
Some neat play by Baxendale saw him find Westcarr who applied a neat finish to double our advantage after Stevenage had come out in determined mood after the break.
With our tails up, Hemmings was felled for a free-kick that Taylor curled just over.
Then a sweeping ball in from the right found Hemmings whose strike was bravely blocked.
As the rain starts to fall, Greg Tansey hits a free-kick wide for the visitors.
The visitors pulled a goal back on 72 minutes when O'Donnell failed to get hold of the ball on the edge of the area and Zoko was able to fire home for 2-1.
There was a booking for Taylor for a foul out wide as Stevenage get the bit between their teeth.
An off-the-ball incident involving Lucas Akins and Paul Downing saw the Stevenage man dismissed after the referee was alerted to it by the fourth official.
Our first change of the afternoon saw Troy Hewitt replace Sawyers.
Then a double change saw Julian Gray and Milan Lalkovic on for Baxendale and Hemmings respectively. It is Gray's first taste of home action since his return.
The Saddlers hit the visitors on the break in stoppage time as Lalkovic set Gray away only for the 'keeper to thwart him.
In the end it mattered not as Walsall secured the three points.
FULL-TIME: Walsall 2 Stevenage 1