Victory for Saddlers
THE LIVE television cameras were in town as The Saddlers played host to Portsmouth.
With both sets of supporters in good voice, The Saddlers started on the front-foot when a header back across goal from Will Grigg saw Simon Eastwood gather under pressure from Febian Brandy.
At the other end, Pompey put a header over as they looked to bounce back from a heavy defeat in their last game.
In the 16th minute, Craig Westcarr fed Sam Mantom in space but he dragged his effort wide from distance.
An inviting ball in from the right picked out Paul Benson who peeled off his marker and put his effort inches wide of the target.
Some good, positive play by Jamie Paterson saw him make progress before firing over.
The Saddlers took the lead when the ball came over from the left and picked out Febian Brandy who made room for a low strike that beat the 'keeper to make it 1-0.
With ten minutes to go until the break, a deflected effort from Westcarr was kept out by Simon Eastwood in the visitors' goal as the loose ball was scrambled clear.
Brandy was causing the Pompey defence all sorts of problems with his pace and a foul on him gave us a free-kick in a promising position which Westcarr put wide.
The Saddlers doubled our advantage on 41 minutes when Grigg seized upon an opportunity in front of goal to guide the ball beyond Eastwood.
It was a good opening period for Dean Smith's men.
HALF-TIME: Walsall 2 Portsmouth 0
An early break on the left saw Grigg's touch find Paterson whose cross into the danger zone was gathered by Eastwood.
David Connolly tried his luck at the other end with a strike by Karl Darlow was confident to allow it to go wide.
Some good play by Grigg saw him work his way towards the penalty area before finding Westcarr whose low effort was saved by the 'keeper.
With just over an hour on the clock, Paterson and Malvind Benning did well on the left for the latter to find space as he cut inside the area. His effort was pushed wide by Eastwood and from the resulting corner, Andy Butler headed wide.
A quickly-taken free-kick almost caught Pompey out as Westcarr's eventual shot was deflected and had the sting taken out of it.
The 74th minute saw Brandy replaced by James Baxendale.
There was a rare effort at goal for the visitors on 78 minutes as Scott Allen's strike took a deflection as Darlow gathered well. Moments later at the other end, Westcarr strode through only for Eastwood to deny him with a good stop.The same players were involved in the next action as Westcarr was thwarted once more by the Pompey custodian.
It was end-to-end stuff as Connolly weaved his way through only for a stong arm from Darlow to deny him.
With their tails up, Adam Webster found space to break inside the area on the right-hand side but his low cross was well defended at the near post by Butler.
With time running out, James Chambers replaced young Malvind Benning.
A great long ball from Paterson found Grigg who twisted and turned but fired well over.
In the end it was another win and another clean sheet for The Saddlers to make it a perfect start to 2013...
FULL-TIME: Walsall 2 Portsmouth 0