FT: Walsall 1-2 Chesterfield
Walsall are out of the Johnstone Paint Trophy, after a disappointing display against Chesterfield
McGivern and Grigg were noticeable absentees, as they joined up with the Northern Ireland squad.
The Saddlers did not quite get of the mark, despite leading in possession. Reid and Macken did their best up front but both are lacking match fitness.
Lower league Chesterfield, however, showed spirit in their play, and got their reward on 13 minutes as they took the lead. Manny Smith failed to clear the ball off the line and the ball dribbled into the back of the net, Jordan Bowery claiming the goal. 0-1
The paltry crowd of 1793 were dismayed at the lack of guile the Saddlers were producing. A string of decent passes went begging for the Saddlers, and the two new forwards, despite being talented, are not quite up to pace yet.
However, the tides turned 6 minutes after falling behind when some good work was finished off by Reuben Reid, who picked his spot perfectly and guided the ball home. 1-1
Good play by the Saddlers was interspersed with carelessly giving away the ball to Chesterfield.
Decent passes across the field around minute 26 ended in Matthew Richards winning a free kick in the middle of goal, but the 25 year old put the ball to the sky .
Frustrations worsened as, on 32 minutes, Chesterfield regained the lead. Westlake failed to clear a danger from the left and Dean Morgan took full advantage. 1-2
Reuben Reid came close on min 37, as the Saddlers showed some positive play,but the chance went begging.
A few minutes later a leaky Walsall defence left the Saddlers lucky that there problems were not worsened by the visitors.
At half time, Jamie Paterson replaced Richard Taundry, the midfielder suffered an injury in the opening minutes that was obviously a cause for concern. The youngster didn't let himself down with a sprightly performance, given his age and experience.
The second half started erratically,as neither team produced any real chances. The Saddlers themselves couldn't quite put the finger on the pulse. Macken came close on 58 minutes, but the shot went over the bar. On 73 minutes, Clayton McDonald came on for Lancashire, the Saddlers needing a strong prescence at the back as they tried to salvage something from the game.
A short while later, Walsall were left counting their blessings as Dean Morgan missed an absolute sitter. Brain has failed to clear the ball and it fell to an open goal at the feet of Morgan, but he made a complete hash of it and the Saddlers were safe. Morgan could not help but laugh at missing such a Walsall gift.
The game from there on in saw frantic Walsall desperately trying to pull the game level. Try as the might, with some good efforts from the midfield through to the strikers, there were few chances that actually looked like they were going to go in. Richards came agonisingly close on minute 81 after some good work by himself, Lescott, Gray and Paterson, but his shot from close range smacked the bar.
As the time ticked down, the Saddler fans prayed for a breakthrough that would send the game into penalties.
However, it was not meant to be and the Saddlers were out of the cup in the first round for the second time this season.
The Saddlers couldn't get going. They were missing their strikers as Nicholls,Jones and Byfield were absent from the lineup. All we can do now is look ahead to Saturday's visit of Colchester United.