Busy month for The Saddlers...
THE MONTH of October got underway with two home games in a row, starting with a Tuesday evening visit from Leyton Orient.
The visitors found themselves two goals to the good within the opening half-an-hour, the second of which was a freak effort from the half-way line.
The Saddlers came out fighting for the second period and pulled a goal back from the penalty spot through Will Grigg but, try as we might, an equaliser was not forthcoming.
We were back on home soil for the visit of Carlisle United and an impressive start was rewarded with a 17th minute goal from Jamie Paterson to put us in front.
Our visitors equalised on the half-hour before snatching a last-minute winner to inflict our second 2-1 home reverse of the week.
The Johnstone's Paint Trophy saw us play host to Port Vale in the second round.
Things were going to plan when Flo Cuvlier stroked home a penalty midway through the first half and then Will Grigg doubled the advantage early in the second period.
It didn't take long for our visitors to reduce the arrears before eventually levelling matters and ending the game strongly.
With the scores locked at 2-2 at the full-time whistle, it went straight to penalties and what a shoot-out it proved to be! Every player took a spot-kick as we missed six times, whilst goalkeeper, Karl Darlow saved three. Sadly, when it came down to the 'keepers taking a penalty each, Darlow saw his effort saved before teenager, Sam Johnson stepped up on his debut to send The Valiants through.
A televised trip to Shrewsbury Town followed and Dean Smith's side simply exploded out of the blocks, creating numerous chances only to find the home 'keeper in outstanding form.
Despite the home side getting their noses in front in the 25th minute, our dominance continued and in the end we were left to wonder how we came out of the encounter with nothing to show for our efforts.
We were back on home soil for the visit of Crewe Alexandra where, once more, an early Jamie Paterson strike was just rewards for our purposeful start to the game.
We deservedly doubled our lead through Florent Cuvelier put The Alex managed to pull a goal back on the stroke of half-time.
There was more last-minute woe when we conceded a 90th minute equaliser and had to settle for a share of the spoils.
The busy month continued with a Tuesday evening trip to a Sheffield United side who were undefeated in League action.
Our task was made even more difficult in the 13th minute when Dean Holden was sent off for a professional foul and United duly converted the resulting spot-kick.
However, Walsall put in an organised and battling display, restricting our hosts to very few further opportunities. In fact, the best chances fell to us as Will Grigg and Florent Cuvelier in particular were denied by excellent saves from the home 'keeper.
The month ended at Bury in what was a tough and uncompromising encounter.
The Saddlers were unable to get into our usual passing style against a well-prepared Bury outfit, but we took an early lead as Will Grigg chased down a backpass and saw the ball rebound off him and head goalwards before he forced the ball over the line.
It didn't take our hosts long to get back on level terms and that's how it stayed as the month ended with a draw.