WALSALL v SHEFFIELD UNITED (JPT QF)
THE SADDLERS stepped out for more Cup action, this time in the Northern Area Quarter-Final of the Johnstone's Paint Trophy as we faced Sheffield United.
In front of the live television cameras, it was a slow start to proceedings with neither 'keeper tested in the opening stages.
The first opening fell to Walsall when Romaine Sawyers' nod down fell to Tom Bradshaw who played Jordan Cook through with a neat pass. As Cook looked to close in on goal, The Blades' defence were able to halt the danger and clear their lines.
Shortly afterwards a corner was curled in dangerously by The Saddlers only for The Blades to scramble clear as Adam Chambers put a header back across goal.
Michael Cain saw yellow for a foul shortly after a Walsall free-kick had seen the white spray used by the referee for the first time.
There was an effort from Craig Alcock that flashed wide for the visitors as they started to get into the game a bit more as the first half went on.
A fine through-ball from Cain saw Cook beat the offside trap but the 'keeper was alert to the danger to clear. Then he gathered a low strike from Bradshaw.
The final action of the opening period saw Forde drag well wide as the half ended goalless.
There was a change at the break as Mathieu Manset came on for Tom Bradshaw.
An early free-kick for the visitors saw Bob Harris fire a low effort just wide of the target.
The Saddlers took the lead on 55 minutes when a strike from Cook was deflected out for a corner and from Forde's flag-kick, Romaine Sawyers got his head to the ball to guide it home.
A positive run from Manset saw him weave his way into the area only to be denied by Iain Turner in the visitors' goal.
There was a scare as Chris Porter went down under Richard O'Donnell's challenge before the loose ball was lashed over. The penalty appeals were waved away.
A long-range effort from Louis Reed is pushed away by O'Donnell as Andy Taylor almost gets caught out from the corner which follows by the 'keeper is able to jump on the loose ball as the visitors start to ask a few questions.
The Saddlers made a double change with just under 20 minutes to go as Jordan Cook and Michael Cain were replaced by Ashley Grimes and Sam Mantom respectively.
A neat pass from Sawyers found Manset who lobbed the ball over the advancing 'keeper on the edge of the area but also over the crossbar. The next raid saw Mantom win a corner with an inviting low cross that was cleared just in the nick of time from a Sheffield United perspective.
The Blades saw an effort from a tight angle by De Girolamo fly over as the searched for a leveller as the clock ticked down.
A slick Walsall move ends with the ball fed into Ashley Grimes whose effort is tipped around the post by the 'keeper.
The next raid sees a marauding run across the area from Manset, but The Blades were able to clear their lines.
The Saddlers saw out the remainder of the game to make it into the Northern Area semi-finals with a deserved 1-0 win.