Adam Thompson’s 89th-minute own goal handed the Saddlers a crucial victory over bottom club Bury.
Despite losing their previous five games, the Shakers started the stronger and could have taken an early lead when Adam Thompson’s header from Callum Styles’ corner was parried by Liam Roberts.
The Saddlers responded positively, with Amadou Bakayoko firing wide on the turn and then drilling in a cross which Erhun Oztumer headed over.
Walsall had a decent opening midway through the half when Luke Leahy’s floated cross was cleared only as far as Flo Cuvelier, who lashed a half-volley wide from inside the box.
The hosts were looking the more dangerous and threatened again on 29 minutes, Justin Shaibu’s venomous near-post drive stinging the palms of keeper Joe Murphy.
Dean Keates’ side continued to push for that elusive opening goal as half-time approached.
Shaibu chased down Erhun Oztumer’s long pass and crossed low to Bakayoko, who laid the ball off first-time for Kieron Morris to fire wide.
Morris then twisted and turned inside the Bury box before dragging a right-footed effort inches wide of the near post.
Ryan Lowe’s visitors flew out of the traps for the second half, with Neil Danns whipping in a cross which James Hanson headed over.
Bury should have gone ahead on 49 minutes when ex-Saddler Zeli Ismail cut inside Adam Chambers and Jack Fitzwater before crossing towards Ryan Cooney but he completely missed his kick.
The danger wasn’t yet averted, with Roberts then required to make a smart one-handed stop to push away Ismail’s curler.
After surviving those let-offs, Walsall almost made the breakthrough as substitute Julien Ngoy pounced on a Danns error but his attempt was smothered by Murphy.
Back came Bury, with Danns seeing a well-struck right-footed effort beaten away by Roberts.
The Shakers came agonisingly close to taking the lead on the hour as Hanson glanced a fine header inches wide from Ismail’s inviting cross.
The home side increased the pressure in the closing stages, with Bakayoko having a goalbound header from Oztumer’s corner somehow kept out in a crowding penalty area.
The match appeared destined for a draw but, with just a minute of normal time remaining, the Saddlers went ahead.
Leahy’s curling cross from the right should have been cleared by Thompson but the defender inadvertently headed the ball into the corner of his own net.
Team: L Roberts, Devlin, Fitzwater, Guthrie, Leahy, Chambers, Cuvelier (Dobson 63’), Morris, Oztumer, Shaibu (Ngoy 53’), Bakayoko.
Subs not used: Gillespie, K Roberts, Kinsella, Flanagan, Kouhyar.
Attendance: 3,807 (130 Bury supporters).