Oldham 0 Walsall 1 - match report

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James Baxendale was once again the match-winner as Walsall maintained their 100 per cent start to the season by beating Oldham.

The winger, who notched the winner at Port Vale in midweek, scored the only goal at Boundary Park when he drilled home a James Chambers cross midway through the first half.

Oldham created more chances but couldn't find a way past the stubborn visiting defence or keeper Richard O'Donnell.

Romaine Sawyers almost added a second for the visitors late on but shot straight at keeper Mark Oxley when clean through.

This was another hard-fought victory for the Saddlers in a game where they were forced to defend for long periods, particularly during the second half as the hosts looked in vain for a leveller.

The Saddlers started brightest with the pace of Milan Lalkovic causing early headaches for the home defence.

Walsall almost went ahead when Baxendale's corner was missed by home keeper Mark Oxley and Paul Downing almost prodded home at the far post but failed to make a clean contact with the ball.

But the first chance of note fell to the hosts, who also had claims for a penalty. Cristian Montano fired in a shot from eight yards which was saved by O'Donnell, with home players adamant the effort had been deflected by the hand of Saddlers skipper Andy Butler.

James Tarkowski headed a free-kick onto the roof of the net as Oldham continued to push, before the Saddlers grabbed the lead on 25 minutes.


Adam Chambers began the move, playing the ball into the path of brother James, whose low cross was first miscontrolled by Westcarr before falling perfectly for Baxendale to drill home first time past Oxley and into the corner.

Former Birmingham City striker Adam Rooney drilled a first time shot from Connor Brown's cross high and wide as the hosts looked for a way back. James Dayton also tried his luck from distance to no avail as the Saddlers saw the half out with relative ease.

Ashley Hemmings had an early half chance for the Saddlers in the second half but miskicked after Lalkovic had set him up 12 yards out. At the other end, O'Donnell was alert to punch clear a dangerous cross from substitute Sidney Schmeltz with Rooney lurking.

Schmeltz was in the thick of the action and really should have done better than fire over soon after, when a Brown cross found its way to him at the far post.


Korey Smith saw a shot blocked and Jose Baxter drilled an effort over the bar as the hosts pressed for a leveller. James Tarkowski had two headed chances from the same corner, the first being blocked by James Chambers with the second saved by O'Donnell.

The Saddlers keeper was also alert to save a deflected shot from substitute Anton Rodgers, while he made an even better save to push away a sharp Smith effort at the near post.

Saddlers substitute Romaine Sawyers had a golden chance to make the points safe but shot straight at Oxley after robbing a dawdling Cliff Byrne. But it mattered not as the visitors held out.

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