Winning run ends...
THE SADDLERS stepped out at Colchester looking to extend our positive start to 2013 against a side who are looking for a spark following a run of nine straight defeats.
On a heavy pitch, both sides created early half-chances with Walsall forcing a couple of early corners and the home side having a low effort saved by Ian McLoughlin.
With 21 minutes on the clock, a long-range strike from Sam Mantom took a deflection which took it just wide of the post.
A handball by Gavin Massey gave The Saddlers a free-kick in a dangerous position which had to be retaken as the defensive wall moved too soon. When Malvind Benning did eventually take, it was straight at the 'keeper.
A corner to the far post was headed wide by Paul Downing as Walsall were enjoying the majority of early possession.
Just past the half-hour mark, McLoughlin came just outside his area to challenge former Saddler, Jabo Ibehre and as the ball fell loose, Andy Butler was on hand to sweep up the danger.
An effort from Billy Clifford flashed well over the crossbar for the home side.
With half-time approaching, Jamie Paterson carved open the home back-line to play in James Baxendale who dragged his effort wide of the post from a good position.
HALF-TIME: Colchester United 0 Walsall 0
The first real action of the second period saw a teasing cross from the right by The U's headed clear by Paul Downing.
Chances few and far between at either end as both sides cancelled each other out.
A neat move from the home side saw Walsall fail to clear the ball properly and Jabo Ibehre lashed an effort narrowly wide.
The home side took the lead when Freddie Sears seized upon a loose ball to be denied by a block from McLoughlin but the ball fell at the feet of Ibehre who guided home into an unguarded net to make it 1-0.
In the wake of the goal, Ashley Hemmings replaced Baxendale.
With five minutes to go, George Bowerman replaced Featherstone.
Some quick feet by Massey saw him make progress before bringing a smart stop from McLaughlin.
The match was sealed in the final stages when a low ball in from the right was swept home by Sears to make it 2-0.
A late effort from Mantom pushed out by the home 'keeper but it was too little too late as The Saddlers slipped to defeat.
FULL-TIME: Colchester United 2 Walsall 0
WALSALL: McLoughlin, Benning, Purkiss, Butler, Downing, A. Chambers, Featherstone (Bowerman), Mantom, Paterson, Baxendale (Hemmings), Grigg. Subs: Holden, Morris, J. Chambers, A. Taylor, Grof.