Late Blow for Saddlers
THE SADDLERS made a prompt return to home action on a sunny October afternoon as Carlisle United provided the opposition.
The opening exchanges saw Walsall seeing more of the ball and forcing a couple of early corners without seriously threatening the visitors' goal.
The Cumbrians' first effort at goal came in the 11th minute when Chris Chantler dipped an effort just over from distance.
Some positive play from Florent Cuvelier saw him make room for a curling effort that was comfortably gathered by the 'keeper. Shortly afterwards, the Belgian was booked for a foul just inside his own half as Carlisle looked to break away.
The Saddlers took the lead in the 18th minute when a sweeping move down the right involving James Baxendale and Cuvelier saw the ball find its way across to Jamie Paterson who found space on the far side and he swept the ball home to make it 1-0.
As the visitors looked to get back into the game, Karl Darlow made a couple of good saves, the second of which saw him push Danny Cadamarteri's effort away from close range following a dangerous low ball into the area.
With 27 minutes on the clock, Paterson and Bowerman linked up well for the latter to see his effort blocked by Mark Gillespie.
The visitors back on level terms on the half-hour mark when a close range header from Joe Garner found its way home following a cross in from the right as Cadamarteri caused problems for the Walsall defence.
There was a booking for Baxendale for his part in a skirmish after the visitors had been awarded a free-kick on the edge of their own half.
The visitors ended the opening period in purposeful fashion. In stoppage time, a point-blank save from Karl Darlow denied Joe Garner as he got in a header.
HALF-TIME: Walsall 1 Carlisle United 1
There was a half-time change for Walsall as Richard Taundry replaced Ben Purkiss.
Taundry did well on the right on 48 minutes before finding Bowerman who lifted his effort over the crossbar.
At the other end, a long range effort from Garner flashed wide.
A Saddlers' attack just before the hour saw Carlisle fail to clear their lines properly as Taundry got in a powerful strike that flew inches wide of the target.
Dean Smith made a second change with Ashley Hemmings replacing Baxendale on the hour.
There was a booking for Andy Taylor on 64 minutes for a foul as The Saddlers searched for the spark that would ignite the game.
On 71 minutes, Cuvelier did well to get away on the right before playing in an inviting low ball into the path of Bowerman who failed to connect in front of goal as Gillespie came to meet him. It was the best opening of the half so far for The Saddlers.
With a quarter-of-an-hour to go, Bowerman was replaced by Febian Brandy.
A through-ball from Paterson almost played in Grigg who was beaten to the ball by the alert 'keeper who bravely gathered.
There was a let-off for Walsall on 84 minutes when Liam Noble's strike hit the post and then as the ball stayed alive, a cross into the danger zone was scrambled to safety.
The final minute of normal time saw Andy Butler booked for his part in a bit of pushing and shoving with Joe Garner.
Deep into stoppage time, Carlisle took the lead when Liam Noble was played through and he rounded Darlow before slotting home to make it 2-1 to the visitors.
FULL-TIME: Walsall 1 Carlisle United 2
WALSALL: Darlow, Butler, Holden, Featherstone, Cuvelier, Grigg, Paterson, Purkiss (Taundry), Bowerman (Brandy), Baxendale (Hemmings), A. Taylor.