Winger James Baxendale snatched a late winner to send Walsall into the hat for the second round of the Capital One Cup with a hard-earned 2-1 victory at Port Vale.
Both managers fielded unchanged starting line-ups from the opening day on Saturday and the heat was soon turnedup in this feisty midlands derby.
Vale almost took an early lead when Tom Pope’s header was cleared off the line before Walsall hit back as Craig Westcarr’s shot fizzed narrowly over.
But Vale held the upper hand, with Pope and Dan Jones going close, before the visitors went ahead two minutes before the interval.
James Chambers’ cross from the right byline was headed against the crossbar by his twin brother Adam Chambers and Ashley Hemmings turned in the loose ball on the line.
Vale deservedly equalised in the 59th minute when Chris Line curled over a quality free-kick from the left flank and Chris Robertson’s eight-yard header looped over Richard O’Donnell’s dive.
An entertaining contest then really opened up with neither side fancying extra-time as Pope and Robertson for Vale and Westcarr and Hemmings for Walsall all went close.
But Baxendale won it when he cut inside from the left flank six minutes from time to bend a perfect 20-yard shot inches inside Chris Neal’s left-hand post.