Walsall 0 Preston 3 - match report

A defensive nightmare condemned Walsall to a third defeat in a week as they went down at home to Preston.

The visitors were the better side throughout and took the lead after half-an-hour when Joel Byron’s free-kick was missed by everyone and ended up in the far corner.

And mistakes in the second half by left-back Mal Benning allowed Chris Humphreys and Lee Holmes to seal the win.

Walsall’s best chance saw substitute Andy Taylor force a save from visiting keeper Declan Rudd but it was on the whole a very poor showing as they slipped to a first home defeat in nine months.

Saddlers boss Dean Smith opted to recall Lalkovic, Adam Chambers and Benning, with Romaine Sawyers, Nicky Featherstone and Taylor all dropping down to the bench.

The Saddlers have made a habit of slow starts in recent games but even by those standards their first half showing here was incredibly pedestrian.

And the second half was even worse as defensive errors allowed the visitors to cruise to victory.

It was the visitors who had the first chance. A Kevin Davies through ball found Beavon but his shot, from just inside the box, was half-blocked by Andy Butler and was comfortably by gathered by Richard O’Donnell in the Saddlers goal.

The keeper had more trouble with a Chris Humphreys effort soon after when the winger had broken away down the right.

Sam Mantom had the first effort for the hosts but his shot from outside the area dribbled harmlessly wide.

But it was definitely Preston who were on top and they went closer still when Beavon glanced a header from a Lee Holmes cross which went just wide for the far post.

The Saddlers just weren’t at the races and were grateful to a brilliant block from James Chambers, which denied former Saddler Holmes after he had beaten the offside trap to go clear.

There were some signs of improvement from the hosts and Westcarr miscued a shot wide after great work by Baxendale and Lalkovic, before Hemmings shot wide from distance as the Saddlers looked to wake from their slumber.

But on the half hour mark the visitors took the lead with a goal which was, from a Saddlers point of view, sloppy in the extreme. Byrom’s free-kick from the right-wing was floated in and with Wright challenging at the far post, the ball missed everyone and ended up in the far bottom corner.

Preston twice went close to doubling their lead in the opening seconds of the second period. First Davies headed a Humphreys cross over from six yards out, before Beavon pulled a shot just wide from the edge of the box.

The visitors were once again on top and a ball across the face of goal from Holmes was just missed by Davies, with Laird unable to do anything other than put it wide at the far post.

And two goals in three minutes then put the game beyond doubt.

First Benning allowed Humphreys to skip past him and drill in a shot which took a slight deflection up and over O’Donnell.

Things then got even worse for the 19-year-old full-back when he miskicked a Humphreys cross and presented the ball on a plate to Holmes, who slid his shot between O’Donnell’s legs.

Smith introduced Sawyers, Taylor and Featherstone in a bid to turn things around.

Sawyers drilled a shot just past the post and Taylor forced a smart stop from Rudd at close range.

Nicky Wroe almost added a fourth for the visitors when he volleyed over from Davies’ flick.

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Comments for: "Walsall 0 Preston 3 - match report"




Make's a nice change for you against us then eh ?

Swampy Saddler

:-((((( Not good today. Never in the game! We looked amateurish at times. Hopefully just a hangover from Wednesday. Will get hammered at Wolves in JPT if we are that naive! . . .. . Try to forget it and move on!

bert ketley

lalkovic and westcarr, simply not good enough, dont look interested and simply no movement across the line, the young players will learn from mistakes, give 100 per cent and get better, we move on,get another forward dean and send lalkovic back

we need to play sawyers Featherstone and taylor and I don't no how sawyers didmt start when hes by far our best stiker and is on form.


Selling best players and not spending any money on replacements is coming home to roost


Out of interest, how much would you spend and on whom? Easy to just say "spend". Maybe if we got gates above 4,200 then we might be able to compete in wages etc.


Cliff you hit the nail onthe head with your comments !!!


I hope I am wrong but westcarr ain't the striker we need don't know why dean signed him after his close season nonsense. All this pretty football is pointless if it don't end up in the net. And worryingly that's three loses on the trot now. I know we were expected to lose at stoke but we were lucky against notts county too. I trust dean but upfront we look far from effective.

Ribble Valley White

Walsall were coming up against us at the wrong time as we were always going to turn the draws into wins once we got going. PNE will be a surprise package this season as no one has tipped us for anything other than mid table. Walsall is one of the better grounds to visit in League One enjoyed it today, bad day at the office for you guys, it happens better luck next time.

Gazza Saddler

I have backed you to win the league buddy.All the very best for the rest of the season.I think the kick up the butt you gave us on Saturday will hopefuly help wake us up in time to beat the dingles on Tuesday.


Yes, Benning was poor. However there was no need to boo the young lad. We're supposed to be encouraging the younger players. Westcarr looked very sluggish again (surpirse surprise). Deano really needs to bring in a striker. Lalkovic was the only positive from the game


Been to every game so far,

You gave it a try ,things up front are not going to improve.

Need to spend money to get forward line sorted.

Westcarr & lalkovc sorry its a NO GO.

Sawyers is best of the three.

Joe fan

First home defeat in 17! Stay positive.


Stop the negativity I've been following the Saddlers for over 40 years and Dean Smith is one of the best footballing managers we have had at the club in that time. We are always going to have problems competing with the bigger clubs in this league and PNE fall into that category. There just isn't the money available to Deano to buy better quality players so we are always going to have dips throughout the season, so enjoy the quality of football when it does happen as it invariably will and get behind the lads not boo them like happened with Benning he is a young kid with some potential and I would say to those responsible if you don't want to get behind the team go and watch the Wolves with all the moaning fans they get in there. UTS


Spot on young sir, 100% agree with your comments. Support develops confidence, criticism doesn't, simple!

michael saddler

Fellow saddler fans take note from ribble valley white...got it in a nutshell please keep the faith. It wasa horrendous display yesterday but lets see how the gaffer deals with It first. Ms

Try our beta site!

We’re getting ready to launch our brand new website for expressandstar.com and we’d like to give you a sneak preview.

We’re still applying the finishing touches, so please bear with us if something’s not quite right.

We'd love to hear your thoughts, good or bad, via the simple feedback button that you'll see to the right side of every page.

Try the beta