SADDLERS PUT IN IMPRESSIVE DISPLAY
THE SADDLERS stepped out for this Capital One Cup second round clash in determined mood.
A lively start for Walsall with Romaine Sawyers involved in the early action, seeing plenty of the ball.
A foul on Ashley Hemmings gave The Saddlers a free-kick which was half-cleared. Then the next attack saw Sam Mantom break but the home side got men back to close Sawyers' path.
Loose ball from The Saddlers gave Kenwyne Jones an opportunity and he made no mistake with Stoke's first serious effort on goal to make it 1-0.
The home side grabbed a second when Jones fired into the roof of the net following a disputed corner after James Chambers appeared to be fouled.
After a free-kick into the area caused problems for Thomas Sorensen, Walsall won a corner which was scrambled clear.
The Saddlers broke after Craig Westcarr picked up a loose ball, but his ball across the face of goal sailed harmlessly out of play.
Walsall still looking to pass the ball around as the home side were restricted to a limited number of chances, however, the clinical finishing of Jones was proving to be the difference.
A foul on Sawyers out wide offered The Saddlers another chance to send the ball into the box as James Baxendale's effort forced a corner, which came to nothing.
HALF-TIME: Stoke City 2 Walsall 0
There was a fine early save from Richard O'Donnell to deny Charlie Adam and keep Stoke at bay as they started the second period brightly.
The Saddlers grabbed a deserved goal when the ball came in low from the left from Mantom's dart and found its way over to Hemmings who made no mistake to make it 2-1.
With a large and vocal crowd behind us, Walsall poured forward to give Stoke problems. Sawyers had an effort blocked before Westcarr looked to seize upon a loose ball but over-ran it as he looked to take it away from the on-rushing Sorensen.
Walsall playing some nice football. Stoke had the ball in the net but ruled out for a clear offside.
A couple of corners in quick succession ended with James Chambers firing over.
Double change with ten minutes to go as Troy Hewitt and James McQuilkin replaced Westcarr and Baxendale respectively.
After having a goal ruled out for offside, Stoke get their third when Jones bursts through the middle to slot home and claim his hat-trick.
As the clock ticked down, Kieron Morris replaced Featherstone.
The Saddlers gave a good account of ourselves on the night but in the end it just wasn't to be.
FULL-TIME: Stoke City 3 Walsall 1