The sun was high and warm over the Banks’ Stadium today as the Saddlers and Preston stepped out, level on points prior to kick off.
Walsall began the game on the front foot, putting a little early pressure on the visitors area.
Preston began to fight their way into the game and just nine minutes in, Preston opened the scoring, Byrom finding himself with a free header which loanee goalkeeper Darlow could and maybe should have done better with.
Walsall refused to lie down and gained control of possession and soon forced the previously untested Simonsen into a brilliant save from a deflected Cuvelier free kick.
In the 37th minute, the Saddlers were level!
A pull back from Will Grigg allowed James Baxendale to curl a delightful 25 yard effort over Steve Simonsen.
Half Time: Walsall 1 – Preston North End 1
(Baxendale 38′). Byrom (10′)
The Saddlers again started the second half well and played some delightful passing football, and 56 minutes in George Bowerman was felled in the area and earned a penalty which he duly converted to send the home contingent into raptures!
Those of us who were sat behind the goal in the Tile Choice stand barely had chance to sit down from the celebrations before Walsall went 3-1 up!
Some great football ended with George Bowerman banging in his fifth of the season, low from the edge of the area.
Walsall continued to look confident in possession and defending well as Preston attempted to pull something back.
Bowerman worried the home crowd as he went down requiring treatment but he was up and about in no time.
James Baxendale was replaced by Richard Taundry and he left the pitch to a well earned standing ovation, dominating display and sound most of the string pulling in midfield.
The Saddlers saw out the game well, dominating defensively and playing good football, Simonsen tested a couple more times as the game finished on the back of three added minutes.
Full time: Walsall 3 Preston 1
(Baxendale 38′) (Byrom 10′)
(Bowerman 55, 58′)
A fantastic win, great performance and some of the best football I have seen us play for a good amount of time!
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