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WALSALL v PNE - LIVE BLOG

31 August 2013

All the action direct from Banks's Stadium...

THE SADDLERS returned to home soil ready to do battle with Preston North End.

As Stuart Beavon broke the offside trap, Paul Downing had to be on hand to block and take the sting out of his effort.

Then in the sixth minute, Richard O'Donnell blocks well as the visitors start with purpose.

The first attack for Walsall came in the eighth minute when a neat move ended with Sam Mantom dragging a low effort wide of the target.

Great defending from James Chambers saw him deny former Saddlers' loanee, Lee Holmes, who broke the offside trap to stride through on goal.

James Baxendale linked up well with Lalkovic on the right and he pulled the ball back low into the path of Craig Westcarr who miscued and the ball landed wide.

Shortly afterwards, Ashley Hemmings fired wide.

The visitors went ahead on the half-hour when a free-kick from Joel Byrom found its way into the back of the net beyond Richard O'Donnell.

Preston making life difficult for The Saddlers to get into our stride and gain any momentum as the half went on.

HALF-TIME: Walsall 0 Preston North End 1

The second period started the second period on the attack as Chris Humphreys broke the offside trap to cross onto the head of Kevin Davies who was just wide and then Stuart Beavon fired inches wide.

The Saddlers are in need of a spark from somewhere at this stage.

It was 2-0 to the visitors on 58 minutes when Humphrey allowed to cut in from the right and his strike took a deflection as it found its way beyond O'Donnell.

There was a change on the hour as Romaine Sawyers replaced Hemmings.

A mistake by Mal Benning allowed Holmes in to guide the ball under O'Donnell to make it 3-0.

Nicky Featherstone and Andy Taylor enter the field on 65 minutes to replace Westcarr and Benning respectively.

For first time, Walsall putting on a bit of pressure as Bailey Wright blocked well to deny Mantom in a good shooting position. Then from the resulting corner, Declan Rudd saved well on the line.

Some good link-up play saw Davies set up Nicky Wroe who fired over for the visitors.

Late free-kick for Walsall taken by Andy Taylor and whilst it was on target, Rudd was behind it all the way.

A day to forget for The Saddlers.

FULL-TIME: Walsall 0 Preston North End 3

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