Following a run of eight games without a win it was a pleasure to see Walsall FC return to winning ways with a hard fought but thoroughly deserved 1-0 win on Tuesday evening at the Memorial Stadium, the home of Bristol Rovers. The pitch was in excellent condition and very true, one of the best Walsall have played on in recent weeks. Manager Chris Hutchings rested Darren Byfield and gave a rare start to Alex Nicholls to partner the recalled Troy Deeney, back from a one-match suspension with Sam Parkin making way for him.
Alex Nicholls gave early indications that he was up for this game looking fresh and lively and was involved in some early Walsall attacks. Jamie Vincent was booked in the early stages and spoken to a few minutes later. Dwayne Mattis had a good effort on goal on 25 minutes which the Rovers keeper had to produce a good save to keep out.
Following good work by Peter Till and Alex Nicholls, Troy Deeney had a great chance to nod Walsall into the lead but mis directed his header. That disappointment was forgotten on 35 minutes however as again following good work by Nicholls, Richard Taundry scored his first ever goal for Walsall with a low drive.
It wasn't all Walsall in that first half and the defence had to hold firm and they did just that. Clayton Mc Donald in particular was outstanding and Clayton Ince was called on to make a couple of fine saves but the Saddlers were happy to go into the interval a goal to the good.
After the break Bristol Rovers were still not getting near to finding the net and replaced former Walsall winger Mark Wright. Clayton Ince was forced into making a save from Jo Kuffour but the forward had the travelling Walsall fans gasping with horror as Vincent brought him down in the box on 80 minutes. The big keeper made a brilliant save to deny Jeff Hughes and then produced another fine save to prevent Paul Heffernan's follow up. The home side threw more bodies forward but Walsall stayed calm and came away with the win their performance deserved.