LEYTON ORIENT v WALSALL (FAC2)
THE SADDLERS were back on the FA Cup trail with a second round trip to Leyton Orient.
In what was a solid start for Walsall, Craig Westcarr produced a smart save from Jamie Jones on the quarter-hour mark before the resulting corner saw Andy Butler use his strength before firing over.
The Saddlers were looking organised in the opening exchanges, restricting our hosts to long-range efforts.
Some battling by Milan Lalkovic saw him force the home defence into an error as Sam Mantom looked to thread through Westcarr only for The O’s’ back-line to redeem themselves.
There were chances at either end as firstly Ashley Hemmings cut inside from the right before curling a shot just wide and then at the other end, David Mooney got his first chance of the afternoon but fired well over.
Adam Chambers battled well in the middle to win the ball and find Westcarr who fired just wide.
The referee spoke to Paul Downing for his part in a centre circle tangle.
Featherstone twisted and turned before getting in a strike that was on target but saved by the ‘keeper.
As half-time approached, the home side took the lead against the run of play when a low ball in from the right found its way over to Dean Cox via a deflection and he fired home to make it 1-0.
The Saddlers were unfortunate to be trailing at the break.
HALF-TIME: Leyton Orient 1 Walsall 0
Early action of the half saw an inviting ball in from Andy Taylor scrambled clear.
There was a sharp move from Walsall on the right as Ben Purkiss did well to feed Westcarr who in turn picked out Hemmings in the middle and his deft touch produced a smart save from Jones.
With Romaine Sawyers on for Featherstone, The Saddlers won a free-kick in a promising position on 65 minutes which saw Westcarr rattle the post as the ball hit the ‘keeper and deflected away from goal.
There was a further change on 71 minutes as James Baxendale came on for Lalkovic.
Walsall continuing to cause problems as we seek a leveller.
The third and final Saddlers’ change saw Troy Hewitt on for Hemmings.
A corner for Walsall causes the visitors all sorts of problems but they are able to clear in front of goal.
The home side put together a neat move on their left which ended with Johnny Gorman firing into the side-netting with five minutes left on the clock.
In stoppage time there was a yellow card for a Adam Chambers following a foul as Dean Smith’s side pushing for an equaliser. There was also a booking for Paul Downing for a skirmish on the touchline as he tried to retrieve the ball.
There was a fracas after Mooney appeared to elbow Downing. Mooney was duly red carded.
There was still time for a great chance for Walsall right at the death as Mantom did well following a corner and the ball fell to Downing from Westcarr but he fired over.
In the end, it wasn’t to be as The O’s progressed into the next round.
FULL-TIME: Leyton Orient 1 Walsall 0