Walsall 1-0 Fleetwood TownFleetwood Town fell to their first league defeat in five games in the West Midlands this afternoon as Tom Bradshaw’s late winner ensured three points for the home side.
Bradshaw spun away from his man in the area, and fired past Chris Maxwell from a tight angle to give the Saddlers a vital victory.
Graham Alexander made one change to the side that triumphed over Yeovil Town on Easter Monday, with Gareth Evans coming in for youngster Nick Haughton.
The Cod Army began the game with purpose, and attacked the right flank well with Antoni Sarcevic, Evans and David Ball combining well.
Ball then made room for himself on the byline before picking out Jamie Proctor in the box, who turned and fired over the bar.
Walsall’s first opportunity of the game came after 13 minutes, when Romaine Sawyers picked out Bradshaw who spun and volleyed over from a good position.
Town were presented with another good chance when Ball burst forward menacingly and broke into the box, but curled his effort wide of the top corner.
Michael Cain later whistled a long range effort wide for the home side, while Evans bent a strike over from the edge of the area.
Alexander’s side were indebted to youngster Tyler Forbes on the half hour mark, as he blocked Romaine Sawyers’ goal bound shot excellently.
Whilst opportunities were at a relative premium for both sides as the game reached it’s break, Town keeper Maxwell did well to keep out Kieron Morris’ shot at his near post.
Walsall started well after the interval, and Nathan Pond had to be alert to block Bradshaw’s effort from a tight angle.
The Saddlers continued to pressure as Town struggled to get a foothold in the game; Cain sent a close range header over, while James O’Connor struck off target.
Maxwell then saved low down to deny the lively Bradshaw, who returned to the home side’s starting 11 after a lengthy spell out with injury.
Alexander brought on Haughton for Ball on 70 minutes as Town looked for another attacking dimension alongside Proctor.
Haughton caught the eye immediately, and flicked the ball into the path of Evans who was inches away from giving the Cod Army the advantage from distance.
At the other end, Andy Taylor’s inviting cross from the left was met by the head of Bradshaw, but he could only crash over.
Walsall took the lead with four minute of the game remaining, as Bradshaw did well in the box and beat Maxwell with a cool finish from a tight angle.