A young Walsall reserve side made up of academy players fell to defeat against Preston North End.
Mikey O’Neill scored a first half hat-trick as the visitors wrestled control in the opening period.
The Lilywhites added further goals early in the second half through Teddy Mfuni and Joe Rodwell-Grant as they rounded off a comprehensive victory.
The visitors started well and had some early opportunities through Adam O’Reilly and O’Neill but O’Reilly fired over before O’Neill was thwarted by Tommy Jackson who saved well low to his left.
O’Neill opened the scoring on 22 minutes as he rifled the ball into the corner of the net.
He then added two quickfire goals to take the game beyond the Saddlers and secure his hat-trick before the break.
Preston started the second half as they started the first and netted their fourth within the first five minutes of the restart as Mfuni prodded home from close range.
The fifth soon followed as Rodwell-Grant squeezed the ball past Jackson.
Walsall improved in the second period but Preston proved to be stubborn opposition.
The Saddlers had a good chance to pull one back when Callum Derry played a neat ball through to Ronan Maher who arrowed in a low shot but it was caught by Oliver Lombard.
Walsall didn’t give up and continue to push for a goal but couldn’t find a way through.
Jackson; Baldwin (Sawyers), Worley, Simcox, Taylor (Shaw); Manton, Cristofaro (Angafor), Maher; Onabirekhanlen, Derry, Edwards (Wisdom)
Subs not used: Hedge