Walsall bowed out of the Papa John’s Trophy as they fell to a narrow 1-0 defeat to League One side Oxford United at the Banks’s Stadium.
U’s substitute Derick Osei-Yaw scored a beauty with three minutes of normal time to go to seal the victory for the visitors.
Darrell Clarke made seven changes to the side that lost to Bristol Rovers on Saturday.
Jack Rose, Alfie Bates, Callum Cockerill-Mollett, Jack Nolan, Emmanuel Osadebe, Hayden White and Jake Scrimshaw all came into the side in place of Liam Roberts, Liam Kinsella, Zak Jules, Rory Holden, Wes McDonald, Elijah Adebayo and Cameron Norman.
Oxford had the first real chance of the game after 10 minutes when Sam Winnall’s powerful strike was parried away by Rose.
Walsall’s first opportunity on goal came after 20 minutes when White fed Scrimshaw who found space on the right in the penalty area and unleashed a shot that took a deflection as it went wide.
The first half saw little goalmouth action but it was the Saddlers who came the closest in the opening 45 minutes when Nolan’s corner found Caolan Lavery whose header struck the woodwork on 32 minutes.
Oxford’s best chance of the half came six minutes before half time when Sam Long fizzed a wicked low ball that found Winnall in the six-yard box who tried to hook it into the net but Rose did brilliantly to get down and stop it and it ended goalless at the break.
The second half started slowly but the lads grew as the half wore on and had the first opportunity of the second period on 61 minutes when Nolan floated in a free-kick that found Cockerill-Mollett at the back post but he couldn’t find the target with his first-time strike.
Clarke made a double substitution on 69 minutes as he introduced the returning Danny Guthrie and Rory Holden in place of Sinclair and Nolan.
There was still little between the two teams but it was the Saddlers who looked the more likely. Lavery had a decent opportunity when he skipped towards the area and let fly with a shot but he missed the target on 80 minutes.
Clarke made his final change as McDonald came on in place of Osadebe as he looked to push for a winner.
Despite pressure from Walsall, it was the visitors who broke the deadlock as substitute Osei-Yaw curled in a beauty from outside the box on 87 minutes.
McDonald had a chance late on as he curled a shot over but the Saddlers couldn’t find an equaliser to force a penalty shootout and they bowed out of the Papa John’s Trophy.
Rose; White, Scarr, Sadler, Cockerill-Mollett; Nolan (Holden), Sinclair (Guthrie), Bates, Osadebe (McDonald); Lavery, Scrimshaw
Subs: Jules, Leak, Perry, George