Walsall Under-18s recorded a first win of the season with a 1-0 victory at Lincoln in the EFL Youth Alliance Cup.
Chances were few and far between in a flat first half, not helped by the wet and windy conditions.
A tricky playing surface made it difficult for the Saddlers to play their natural passing game against a more direct Imps team, who had won their previous two group games.
Alex McSkeane went closest for the visitors in the opening period but his effort from a free-kick was headed off the line.
The Saddlers began the second half brightly on a rapidly deteriorating pitch and deservedly clinched victory courtesy of a McSkeane goal – his fourth of the campaign.
“It has been a tough but good week for some of our boys,” said Academy Manager Graham Biggs.
“A few of them have played Saturday, Wednesday in the Under-23s and Saturday again, which is something they will need to cope with if they are to play first-team football.
“We were pleased for Alfie Bates, who got the call from the gaffer and travelled with the first team to Bristol Rovers.
“That gave us an opportunity to see how a couple of our Under-16s could deal with an Under-18s environment, and they did really well.”