A Daniel Agyei header and an Erhun Oztumer strike earned the Saddlers victory over newly-promoted Plymouth.
Debutant Agyei, signed on loan from Burnley less than 48 hours earlier, put the hosts ahead on 23 minutes when he nodded in Luke Leahy’s cross.
Erhun Oztumer doubled our lead with a low 81st-minute strike, and although a hotly-disputed Graham Carey penalty reduced the arrears, Walsall held on.
Deadline day signing Agyei was thrown straight into the starting XI and was immediately in the thick of the action, heading Amadou Bakayoko’s fifth-minute cross straight at Luke McCormick.
The Burnley loanee went even closer four minutes later when a Nicky Devlin centre was touched into his path by Erhun Oztumer but his first-time strike was deflected inches wide.
Derek Adams’ Pilgrims were looking lively without creating too many scoring opportunities; Graham Carey scuffed wide, while Jake Jervis and Nadir Ciftci were also unable to find the target.
After twice going close, Agyei made it third time lucky on 23 minutes.
Jon Guthrie spread the ball wide to Luke Leahy, who delivered a peach of a cross which Agyei gleefully nodded home from close range.
Visiting keeper McCormick twice prevented Walsall from increasing the lead, first holding Leahy’s fizzing drive before claiming James Wilson’s hooked effort from a Joe Edwards corner.
The Saddlers continued to dominate, with the dangerous Agyei flashing a venomous half-volley just over the bar and Bakayoko being denied by a last-ditch challenge.
Argyle threatened themselves six minutes before the break, Jamie Ness rifling a blistering volley just wide after a corner was only half-cleared.
After weathering a spell of Plymouth pressure at the start of the second half, Walsall could have been awarded a penalty when Devlin went down inside the area – but nothing was given.
Oztumer then whistled a 25-yard effort narrowly wide before Argyle’s Jamie Ness hit a well-struck shot straight at home glovesman Mark Gillespie.
Although chances were proving much harder to come this half, the Saddlers were looking the more threatening and added a second with nine minutes remaining.
Oztumer shrugged off the challenge of Yann Songo’o, advanced forward and arrowed an unerring left-footed shot into the bottom corner from 25 yards.
Plymouth pulled one back in controversial circumstances with three minutes left, Carey slamming a hotly-disputed penalty into the top corner after Leahy was deemed to have pushed Nathan Blissett.
Substitute Kieron Morris stung the palms of McCormick as the Saddlers looked to put the game to bed in added time.
Team: Gillespie, Wilson, K Roberts, Guthrie, Devlin, Chambers, Edwards, Leahy, Oztumer, Bakayoko (Morris 75’), Agyei (Jackson 62’).
Subs not used: L Roberts, Cuvelier, Flanagan, Ismail, Candlin.
Attendance: 5,495 (1,525 Plymouth supporters).