Walsall progressed to the second round of the Emirates FA Cup with a professional performance against King’s Lynn Town.
Brendan Kiernan scored the only goal of the game after 15 minutes and it proved to be enough for the Saddlers despite some second half pressure from Ian Culverhouse’s team.
Matt Taylor made one change to the team that started at Sutton United as Tyrese Shade came in for Kieran Phillips in a strong selection from the Saddlers Head Coach.
The Saddlers made a bright start and were on the front foot in the early exchanges as Shade got in behind and his cross was blocked for a corner before George Miller attempted an overhead kick on the volley that he didn’t quite connect well enough with to trouble Paul Jones in the King’s Lynn net.
Walsall opened the scoring after 15 minutes when a free-kick was taken quickly to Hayden White who delivered a cross that was prodded in by Kiernan at the back post.
The Saddlers skipper came close to adding a second when he tried his luck from distance but his low effort just trickled wide.
King’s Lynn grew into the game and their first shot on goal came on 29 minutes when Ethan Coleman’s free-kick comfortably cleared the crossbar.
There was little goal-mouth action in the closing stages of the first half and the Saddlers went into the break with a one-goal lead.
Walsall made a bright start to the second half and had a couple of early half chances through Emmanuel Osadebe and Kiernan.
The hosts had a glorious opportunity on the hour mark as Michael Clunnan cut inside and curled in a shot that has beaten Carl Rushworth but White was there to clear off the line.
King’s Lynn started to put the Saddlers under pressure and the visitors had Stephen Ward to thank after he charged down Junior Morias’ effort and made an excellent block.
The Saddlers really had to dig in as the hosts grew in confidence and continued to force the issue.
Kieran Phillips and Sam Perry were introduced and the fresh legs helped Taylor’s men re-group and withstand the King’s Lynn pressure.
Walsall did well in the closing stages and professionally managed the game and ensured safe passage into round two.