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Portsmouth 1 Walsall 2 - match report

Sport | Published:

Walsall continued their fine start with a Fratton Park win that had Dean Smith's players celebrating excitedly at the finish.

Walsall continued their fine start with a Fratton Park win that had Dean Smith's players celebrating excitedly at the finish.

Two wonderful strikes by James Baxendale and then Flo Cuvelier gave the Saddlers control after the break but the 70th minute saw Portsmouth pull one back through Izale McLeod.

But the Saddlers handled the last 20 minutes with a measure of ease and in fact came closest to scoring again when Man of the Match Jamie Paterson smacked a thunderous, 30yd left footer on to the bar.

Saddlers will still feel they can play better than this – crisis-hit Pompey were the dominant team in the first half although they struggled to force David Grof into serious action.

Walsall had the better chances through Paterson and the hard-working George Bowerman but after the break, Grof came up with a key moment to deny McLeod at point-blank range.

Moments later Walsall were in a 55th minute lead when Ashley Hemmings slipped Mustapha Dumbaya's grasp and set up James Baxendale. From 20yds, he nailed his first goal for the club with the sweetest of strikes.

Eight minutes later, Cuvelier bettered it from a half-cleared free-kick. He let fly with an angled drive from 25yds which fizzed low and hard past Mikkel Andersen.

Sloppy defending enabled Portsmouth a route back as Walsall three times failed to clear their lines from a corner but the home side never threatened an equaliser.

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