Town 1 Walsall 0
Town: Chris Weale, Jermaine Grandison, Luke Summerfield, Michael Hector, Lee Collins, Matt Richards (c), Asa Hall, Marvin Morgan, Paul Parry (Mark Wright, 77), Aaron Wildig, Jon Taylor (Tom Bradshaw, 89).
Subs: Joe Anyon, Joe Jacobson, Rob Purdie, Ryan Doble, Mark Wright, Tom Bradshaw, Connor Goldson.
Goals: Parry, 25.
Walsall: Karl Darlow, Richard Taundry, Andy Butler (c), Dean Holden, Nicky Featherstone, Adam Chambers, Florent Cuvelier (Ashley Hemmings, 58), Jamie Paterson, George Bowerman (Febian Brandy, 77), James Baxendale (Aaron Williams, 72), Andy Taylor.
Subs: David Grof, Ashley Hemmings, Febian Brandy, Ben Purkiss, Jake Jones, Aaron Williams, Paul Downing.
Referee: Mr. R. Madley.
Assistants: Mr. M. Russell & Mr. M. Jones.
Fourth Official: Mr. C. Sarginson.
Matt Johnson reports from the Greenhous Meadow
Graham Turner made three changes to the side that lost out to Crewe in the Football League Trophy in mid-week. Chris Weale returns in goal, whilst Michael Hector comes in for Darren Jones, who misses out through illness, and Asa Hall makes his first start for the club in place of Mark Wright.
The Saddlers started much the brighter and fashioned two presentable openings within the first seven minutes. Jamie Paterson drove into the Town box but his rifled effort was saved well by the Town stopper. A cutting through ball put the visitors in again, but Adam Chambers spurned the guilt-edge one-on-one, hitting it straight at Weale.
Walsall continued to dominate and it took another magnificent stop by Weale to deny them the lead on 14 minutes. Florent Cuvelier was released down the left before he cut inside and curled an effort that was destined for the corner but for Weale’s fingertips.
Town look the lead against the run of play with their first meaningful attack after 25 minutes. A deep corner found its way to Asa Hall who’s half-volley thumped the underside of the crossbar, but Paul Parry was on hand from six-yards to steer in the rebound.
The Saddlers again went on the front foot in search of a leveller, but Town settled as the half ebbed on and managed to hold on to the lead heading into the interval.
Half-time: Town 1-0 Walsall
Town emerged a different side from the dressing rooms for the second half and immediately exploded into life with Aaron Wildig and Hall seeing half chances deflect out for corners.
An under the cosh Saddlers almost took a leaf out of the Town first half book on 61 minutes. A short corner was eventually whipped deep to the back post and former Shrews man Dean Holden climbed highest to land a powerful header that thumped plum off the bar.
Walsall again almost levelled after 68 minutes when a slip from Michael Hector allowed George Bowerman through on goal, but it was that man Weale again who raced off his line to thwart the striker.
A route one ball straight up the other end saw Town come within a whisker of doubling their lead. Marvin Morgan held the ball up well from three defenders before squaring for Parry, who’s shot beat Karl Darlow but agonisingly ricocheted off the bar.
Aaron Williams replaced James Baxendale on 72 minutes for Walsall and the striker fluffed his lines on a glaring opportunity to mark his first contribution. A low cross from the left found Williams, who simply had to steer his shot on target to score, but it was sliced well wide.
The game continued at a frantic end to end pace but the visitors were unable to create any further clear cut chances as Town held on for their third win of the season.
Full-time: Town 1-0 Walsall