THE SPRING sun was shining as The Saddlers stepped out for this local derby with Shrewsbury Town.
The was certainly a spring in Walsall's step in the opening exchanges as we played some neat football and took a fifth minute lead through Craig Westcarr who fired home.
As Shrews looked for an instant response, a corner found Connor Goldson up from the back at the far post but he fired over.
James Baxendale did well surrounded by a sea of blue only to see his low strike dragged wide of the target.
There was a nervy moment in the visitors' defence on 25 minutes when Adam Chambers seized upon a loose ball to play in Baxendale but the ball was eventually scrambled out for a corner, which came to nothing.
A neat passage of play in the 38th minute ended with Westcarr firing inches wide as the ball skims the base of the post.
After a good defensive header from Taylor, Asa Hall fires narrowly wide for the visitors with half-time approaching.
As Sawyers looked to get away, he was pulled back by Mkandawire to win a free-kick on the edge of the area which Taylor curled goalwards as the 'keeper pushed out.
HALF-TIME: Walsall 1 Shrewsbury Town 0
Cheeky effort on 50 minutes by Febian Brandy but it failed to trouble the 'keeper.
A great ball in from the right opens up the visitors' defence by Andy Butler is unable to turn it home from close range.
There was a straight red card just past the hour-mark for Joe Mills for a high challenge on James Chambers that saw him in need of treatment.
Chambers was able to return to the fray after treatment as things started to get a little spicy.
A high, hanging cross from James Chambers found its way to Sawyers but he was unable to get necessary power.
Then in the next raid, a positive break saw the ball come in from the right for Brandy whose effort was superbly saved by Joe Anyon.
There was a red card for Westcarr for his reaction to something that was said to him as he received treatment following a heavy challenge. Westcarr squared up to Sam Foley before being given his marching orders.
After Sawyers fed Sam Mantom, he made room for a strike but his effort was blocked from a good position.
An inviting pull-back from the by-line from Sawyers in the 84th minute saw no-one on hand to profit.
The first change for The Saddlers came when James McQuilkin replaced James Baxendale with four minutes left on the clock.
After Sawyers played in Brandy, he was pushed wide but managed to force a corner that came to nothing. It was to be Sawyers' last involvement in the action as he was replaced by Michael Ngoo.
A late free-kick out wide for The Shrews caused concern as the visitors pushed for an equaliser. Walsall were having to be resolute in defence to keep them at bay.
The final whistle signalled a hard-earned 1-0 win for Walsall as our play-off push continues...
FULL-TIME: Walsall 1 Shrewsbury Town 0