Clatyon Donaldson scored the only goal as Brentford inflicted a first defeat of the season on Walsall.
The striker nodded home Shaleum Logan’s cross three minutes before half-time for the hosts, who had earlier hit the bar through Adam Forshaw.
Former Walsall striker Will Grigg did not feature because of a hamstring injury for the home side, who were denied the chance to increase their advantage by Saddlers keeper Richard O’Donnell.
But the visitors were always in the game and almost snatched a point in the closing stages when Craig Westcarr had a header saved by home keeper David Button.
The reunion with Grigg had formed much of the pre-match talk but a hamstring injury meant he did not even make the home side’s bench.
Instead most of the post-match focus, at least on a national level, will fall on his replacement Conor McAleny who was stretchered off in the opening minutes following a challenge with Adam Chambers.
Bees boss Uwe Rosler refused to elaborate on the extent of the injury, merely referring to it as “nasty” though it is thought the player has suffered a broken leg.
Saddlers boss Dean Smith made one change from the team which drew 1-1 with Notts County last week, with Lalkovic returning having recovered from a hamstring injury. Romaine Sawyers dropped back down to the bench.
The hosts suffered an early blow when McAleny had to be stretchered off, after he came off worse in an innocuous looking challenge with Chambers.
Brentford had the first attempt soon after when Forshaw’s goal-bound shot was blocked by Walsall skipper Andy Butler.
The hosts were enjoying plenty of possession in the final third. George Saville drilled a shot from distance over the bar, while Clayton Donaldson saw appeals for a penalty waved away when he went down under pressure from Paul Downing.
Walsall were able to weather the storm somewhat and put together some nice passing play of their own, Craig Westcarr going close when he shot wide from the edge of the box.
But Brentford went the closest yet when Adam Forshaw picked up the ball 25 yards out and let fly with a shot which crashed against the crossbar and went behind.
Sam Mantom shot wide after the Saddlers first corner of the game was cleared to him 25 yards out.
The visitors finally seemed to be getting a foothold in the game but fell behind three minutes before the break.
For all their efforts defending earlier in the half, the manner of the goal will have frustrated the Saddlers defence, as Donaldson was afforded acres of space to place his header from Logan past O’Donnell.
The big striker should have increased the lead before the break when he was again left unmarked but this time sent his header wide.
And it almost proved a costly miss, as Westcarr fed Lalkovic at the other end, who could only shoot straight at Button from the edge of the box.
The Slovakian had another effort blocked at the start of the second half, before Westcarr had the Saddlers best chance of the game to date, forcing a smart save from Button from an acute angle. James Chambers wastefully blasted the rebound over the bar from the edge of the box.
Substitute El Alagui then almost made it two for the hosts but after beating O’Donnell to a through bal and rounding the keeper, he saw his low shot blocked behind by Butler.
Donaldson again went close to a second but was denied by O’Donnell after being put clean through by Saville.
The introduction of Sawyers lifted the Saddlers and Lalkovic, who switched to a position on the right, flashed in a cross which was just ahead of Westcarr after neat play by the visitors.
O’Donnell kept the game alive in the closing stages with another good save, this time from Forshaw, before Westcarr came closest to the equaliser when his near post header was saved by Button. Butler finished the game as a striker as the Saddlers put the home side under increasing pressure but a leveller proved elusive.