Walsall got back to winning ways at the Kassam Stadium this afternoon as they beat Oxford United thanks to goals from Morgan Ferrier and Zeli Ismail.
In a game that was filled with plenty of chances, it was the Saddlers who profited from taking theirs, as the hosts were left to rue a number of good chances.
In the opening exchanges of the game, it was Oxford who went closest in the first 10 minutes as captain John Mousinho connected well with a Ricky Holmes cross but his volley flew just wide of Liam Roberts’ post.
Moments later and the Saddlers could have been ahead through Jon Guthrie. Following a deep corner from George Dobson, Guthrie rose highest at the back post but his header was saved easily by Jonathan Mitchell.
At the halfway point in the first half, Dean Keates’ side opened the scoring through the lively Ferrier.
Ferrier cleverly beat the offside trap, racing clean through on goal before slotting the ball through the legs of Mitchell.
Just four minutes later and the hosts could have been back on level terms had it not been for the fantastic Roberts.
A ball was floated into the box and Curtis Nelson powered a header goalbound but Roberts produced a superb save to tip it over the bar.
With the last clear chance of the half, the Saddlers should have doubled the lead with Josh Gordon and Ferrier both hitting the woodwork in one passage of play.
Firstly, Zeli Ismail found Gordon unmarked on the edge of the box and his volley cannoned back off the post, with the ball then landing at Ferrier’s feet but the striker couldn’t react quickly enough with his shot in turn hitting the crossbar.
In the second half the Saddlers made their dominance count as they found a second goal just before the hour mark.
Following a free-flowing counter attack, Gordon played in Ismail on the right wing and the tricky winger cut across the ball, with his sweetly-struck strike finding the bottom corner.
The hosts rarely threatened after the second goal with all their enthusiasm on the ball being sapped but Mousinho went closest just after the hour mark but his header could only find the top of the net.
Ferrier could have scored again in the second half. A cross to the penalty spot found the striker between two United defenders but his header just grazed the top of the bar.
With three minutes left of normal time to play, United pulled one back through James Henry.
A scuffed shot from the edge of the box landed at the feet of Henry who instinctively flicked it past Roberts in the Saddlers goal.