First-half goals from Kieron Morris and Josh Gordon earned a young Saddlers team victory at League One rivals Burton in the Checkatrade Trophy.
Dean Keates made a raft of changes for the Saddlers’ Northern Group E opener, handing debuts to the Wolves loan duo of Connor Johnson and Connor Ronan.
The visitors opened the scoring with ten minutes on the clock, Maz Kouhyar tricking his way past two defenders before crossing to the back post for Kieron Morris to head home.
Dean Keates’ men added a well-worked second on 29 minutes as Josh Gordon bundled home from close range after a surging run and pinpoint low cross from captain Nicky Devlin.
The home side almost pulled one back when Lucas Akins’ powerful header from a corner was nodded onto his own crossbar by Jordon Sangha.
Another chance came and went for the Brewers early in the second half as Kyle McFadzean headed Akins’ dangerous cross wide from six yards.
Walsall nearly grabbed a third midway through the half when Gordon flashed a shot just wide after a pacey counter attack.
Burton halved the deficit with a minute of normal time remaining, Marcus Harness latching onto fellow sub Marvin Sordell’s through ball and calmly slotting past Liam Roberts.
Buoyed, Nigel Clough’s side created three late chances to score an equaliser.
Jake Hesketh first volleyed wide from 25 yards before Elliot Hodge headed off target and also fired a long-range attempt over.
Saddlers team (4-4-2): Roberts; Devlin, Johnson (Cook 86’), Fitzwater, Wilson; Morris (Cockerill-Mollett 72’), Sangha, Ronan, Kouhyar; Parker (Hayles-Docherty 72’), Gordon.
Subs not used: Dunn, Dobson, Guthrie, Osbourne.
Attendance: 724 (229 Saddlers fans).