Walsall picked up their first three points of the 2021/22 season with a narrow victory over Stevenage at the Banks’s Stadium.
Conor Wilkinson scored his first goal for the Saddlers after five minutes and it proved to be enough for the Saddlers on a productive afternoon in the sunshine.
Head Coach Matthew Taylor made two changes to the team that lost to Hartlepool United last weekend.
Joss Labadie returned from injury and came in for Sam Perry while Manny Monthé was restored to the starting XI in place of Ash Taylor.
The Saddlers made a flying start and took the lead after just five minutes.
Wilkinson collected the ball on the right hand side of the area, shifted it on to his left foot and arrowed a strike into the bottom near corner to open the scoring.
Walsall continued to probe and looked to build on their fine start and came close to a second when Jack Earing picked up the ball on the edge of the area, skipped into the box and let fly with a shot but his effort just whistled over the bar.
The search for a second continue and Kieran Phillips came close when he hooked Brendan Kiernan’s cross goalwards but his effort just missed the target moments later.
Stevenage rarely threatened in the first half. Their first meaningful chance came after 36 minutes through Jack Smith who had a header saved by Carl Rushworth.
The Saddlers saw out the remainder of the half and were ahead at the break.
The hosts came out with intent in the second half and continued to put Stevenage under pressure.
The Boro grew into the game and had a couple of opportunities through Jake Reeves. His first came from a free-kick which he blazed over the bar. Moments later, he rifled in a powerful low shot that just missed the target.
Stevenage enjoyed a lot more possession in the second half but the Saddlers continue to hold firm.
Taylor made his first change on 78 minutes as he introduced Emmanuel Osadebe in place of Phillips.
Ash Taylor was also introduced in the closing stages as the hosts looked to see out the game.
Stevenage pressed for a levelled and came close in the 89th minute through substitute Bruno Andrade who curled an effort just wide of the mark.
The Saddlers had an additional four minutes to contend with after the 90 but they held on to claim the points.
Rushworth; White, Menayese, Monthé, Ward; Labadie, Kinsella; Phillips (Osadebe), Earing (A. Taylor), Kiernan; Wilkinson
Sub: Rose (GK), Bates, Willis, Perry, Mills