SWINDON 0-2 WALSALL
Erhun Oztumer’s stunning brace earned Walsall their first away league win of the season at the expense of struggling Swindon.
The diminutive midfielder put the Saddlers ahead on 17 minutes with an audacious 45-yard lob before doubling the lead after half-time with a sublime volley from Kevin Toner’s long pass.
It could, and really should, have been more convincing, but Andreas Makris and Kieron Morris each missed golden chances.
Subdued Swindon offered little in response as Walsall ran out comfortable and deserved winners.
Jon Whitney’s side are now unbeaten in five matches in all competitions and are up into the top half, in 12th place.
Swindon registered the game’s first attempt on 11 minutes, Ellis Iandolo with a scuffed effort from the edge of the box which Saddlers keeper Neil Etheridge saved with ease.
Walsall entered the match in fine fettle having lost just one of their previous eight matches in all competitions.
And the Saddlers, whose last victory at the County Ground came in October 2013, opened the scoring on 17 minutes thanks to a moment of magic from Oztumer.
The diminutive playmaker collected Darnell Furlong’s sloppy pass, spotted Lawrence Vigouroux off his line and unleashed an exquisite 45-yard lob which sailed over the keeper and into the net.
It was a truly special strike from the 25-year-old – his sixth goal in Walsall colours.
The visitors had penalty appeals waved away shortly after as Makris went down under a challenge from Thomas.
Luke Williams’ Robins struggled to create many opportunities; Nathan Delfouneso fired over and Iandolo curled wide from 20-yards but the visitors’ defence was rarely troubled.
Half-time: Swindon 0-1 Walsall
Walsall should have doubled their lead immediately after the resumption, when Franck Moussa squared for the unmarked Makris, six yards out, but he hit the bar with the goal gaping.
The Saddlers soon made it 2-0, Oztumer guiding a sublime left-foot volley over Vigouroux from Kevin Toner’s long pass – a Dennis Bergkamp-esque finish!
Jon Whitney’s side were in total control and they should have added a third on 63 minutes.
The outstanding Oztumer danced his way into the box and teed up Kieron Morris, who looked certain to score, but he blazed wildly over from eight yards.
Swindon rarely threatened and were restricted only to the occasional half chance.
Nathan Delfouneso fired off target from Furlong’s right-wing cross, while Anton Rodgers’ rasping 25-yarder was spilled by the underworked Etheridge, who gathered at the second attempt.
Walsall continued to press, with Morris flashing a left-footed attempt narrowly wide after good link-up play with substitute Amadou Bakayoko.
Man of the match Oztumer very nearly grabbed his hat-trick in the closing stages, but Vigouroux made a fine save to parry his half-volley from Scott Laird’s accurate cross.
Full-time: Swindon 0-2 Walsall
Team: Etheridge, McCarthy, O’Connor, Toner, Laird, Chambers, Edwards, Morris (Ginnelly 85’), Moussa, Oztumer, Makris (Bakayoko 62’). Subs not used: MacGillivray, Dobson, Osbourne, Kinsella, Preston. Attendance: 6,655