OLDHAM ATHLETIC v WALSALL
THE SADDLERS faced our first of two home games this week with the visit of Oldham Athletic on a chilly Tuesday evening.
There was a lively start to the proceedings with Richard O'Donnell making a good early block to deny the visitors as Charlie MacDonald strode through.
As the rain lashed down, Walsall found it difficult to get into our stride in the opening exchanges against willing opponents.
A break on the half-hour saw Craig Westcarr fire well over from outside the area. Then shortly afterwards, a foul on the returning Febian Brandy gave The Saddlers a free-kick in a good position which was curled onto the post by Andy Taylor as the rebound was scrambled clear.
As Walsall being to look more of a threat, Westcarr's low cross is scrambled behind as the resulting corner causes more problems.
The Saddlers saw a series of corners come to nothing as The Latics defended resolutely.
The half ended with honours even at 0-0.
HALF-TIME: Walsall 0 Oldham Athletic 0
There was an early chance for Paul Downing who planted a firm header from a corner that was well saved by former Saddlers' loanee, Mark Oxley.
A free-kick conceded by Sam Mantom saw James Dayton's effort touched onto the post by O'Donnell as Danny Philliskirk's follow-up is deflected inches wide. It was a let-off for Walsall.
The breakthrough finally came on 65 minutes when Sam Mantom fired home to make it 1-0. It was a sweet strike as the ball fell into his path.
An effort from Romaine Sawyers is pushed out by the 'keeper.
There was a superb save from O'Donnell in the 78th minute as he clawed out Gary Harkins' deflected free-kick.
A stinging drive from James Dayton deflected just over.
There was a late let-off as Dayton's cross found Adam Rooney in a good position in front of goal but he dragged wide of the target.
Craig Westcarr was replaced by Troy Hewitt for the final few minutes.
The Saddlers being made to work hard by a committed Oldham outfit.
There was late drama with an injury time penalty to The Latics following a foul by Paul Downing. Rooney stepped up and O'Donnell saved superbly. Taylor was booked for his part in the incident.
At the other end Lalkovic went on a weaving run only to be crowded out but Walsall were victorious!
FULL-TIME: Walsall 1 Oldham Athletic 0