Febian Brandy scored the first and made the second as Walsall made it four wins out of five over the festive period, while inflicting hapless Portsmouth's fourth straight defeat since Christmas.

The former Manchester United youngster put the Saddlers ahead with a cool far-post finish in the six-yard box.

The tricky Brandy was then denied a second just before the break, only to be denied by goalkeeper Simon Eastwood.

But the rebound fell to Will Grigg, who bundled it home from eight yards.

There might have been more, but Grigg blazed over and substitute Darren Westcarr wasted two good openings.

But Brandy's third goal over Christmas, coupled with Grigg's eighth strike of the season, was enough to earn Walsall's best home win over the season and carry Dean Smith's Saddlers back to within seven points of the League One play-off zone.

Portsmouth remain in the relegation zone after their 13th league game without a win.

VIEWS FROM THE DRESSING ROOM

Walsall manager Dean Smith told BBC WM:

"We didn't start too well. Maybe some of the younger lads were feeling a bit nervous being in front of the TV cameras for the first time.

"They had a good early chance. That woke us up a bit and, from then on, it was a very good professional performance and a real team effort.

"Fabien Brandy was involved in both goals, Will Grigg never stopped running, Adam Chambers broke things up well and the two lads at the back were very strong."

Portsmouth caretaker manager Guy Whittingham told BBC Solent:

"Walsall have just come off the back of a long run without a run and they've now won four in five, so I'm going to have to ask Dean Smith how he did it.

"But I know what he's going to say. It's just case of keeping on doing everything right, working hard at it and hoping your luck will turn.

"Both their goals tonight came from our mistakes. But we've got a lot of young lads out there doing a lot of running, and the ball's just not running for them."

Lineup, Bookings (0) & Substitutions (5)

Walsall

  • 28 Darlow
  • 04 Butler
  • 14 Purkiss
  • 20 Benning (J Chambers - 88' )
  • 22 Downing
  • 07 A Chambers
  • 27 Mantom
  • 09 Grigg
  • 10 Paterson
  • 12 Brandy (Baxendale - 74' )
  • 29 Westcarr

Substitutes

  • 01 Grof
  • 02 Taundry
  • 25 J Chambers
  • 06 Featherstone
  • 11 Hemmings
  • 24 Baxendale
  • 17 Bowerman

Portsmouth

  • 13 Eastwood
  • 02 Dumbuya
  • 18 Ertl
  • 20 Michalik
  • 22 Webster (Wallace - 86' )
  • 06 Walker (Allan - 46' )
  • 07 Williamson
  • 19 Russell
  • 26 Mendez-Laing (Harris - 65' )
  • 09 Connolly
  • 14 Benson

Substitutes

  • 01 Smith
  • 03 Harley
  • 16 Gyepes
  • 23 Allan
  • 35 Wallace
  • 21 Harris
Ref: Hooper
Att: 4,038

Match Stats

Shots

25 8

On target

14 3

Corners

8 4

Fouls

9 17

Live Text Commentary

90:00 +3:14 Full time

Full Time The final whistle goes and the game is over.

90:00 +2:37

The ball is sent over by Paul Benson, save by Karl Darlow.

90:00 +2:23

The ball is crossed by Jamie Paterson.

90:00 +1:18

James Baxendale has a shot on goal from outside the area which misses right.

89:24

Shot by Will Grigg from just outside the area goes over the net.

88:40

David Connolly decides to take the corner short.

88:27

David Connolly takes a shot. Blocked by Paul Downing.

87:29 Substitution

Substitution Malvind Benning leaves the field to be replaced by James Chambers.

86:50

David Connolly crosses the ball, comfortable save by Karl Darlow.

85:54 Substitution

Substitution (Portsmouth) makes a substitution, with Jed Wallace coming on for Adam Webster.

85:28

Corner taken right-footed by Scott Allan.

85:14

The ball is crossed by Adam Webster, clearance made by Paul Downing.

83:46

David Connolly produces a drilled left-footed shot from 18 yards. Karl Darlow makes a save.

83:30

The ball is crossed by Adam Webster, Ben Purkiss manages to make a clearance.

83:12

Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Lee Williamson by Craig Westcarr. Darel Russell takes the free kick.

82:42

The ball is crossed by Andy Butler.

82:19

Outswinging corner taken by Jamie Paterson from the right by-line, clearance by Paul Benson.

82:05

Craig Westcarr takes a shot. Save by Simon Eastwood.

81:12

Corner taken right-footed by Jamie Paterson, Unfair challenge on Johnny Ertl by Andy Butler results in a free kick. Simon Eastwood restarts play with the free kick.

80:56

Craig Westcarr takes a shot. Save made by Simon Eastwood.

80:19

James Baxendale has an effort at goal from outside the penalty box missing to the wide left of the goal.

79:53

Scott Allan takes a shot. Save by Karl Darlow.

75:24

Foul by Adam Chambers on Lee Williamson, free kick awarded. Direct free kick taken by Johnny Ertl.

73:49

A cross is delivered by Scott Allan, Andy Butler makes a clearance.

73:01 Substitution

Substitution Febian Brandy goes off and James Baxendale comes on.

72:30

Craig Westcarr takes a shot. Johnny Ertl gets a block in.

72:09

Free kick awarded for a foul by Lee Williamson on Jamie Paterson. Jamie Paterson restarts play with the free kick.

71:08

Darel Russell challenges Craig Westcarr unfairly and gives away a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Andy Butler.

69:04

Febian Brandy concedes a free kick for a foul on Darel Russell. Adam Webster restarts play with the free kick.

68:27

The ball is sent over by Adam Webster.

67:48

Jamie Paterson has a shot on goal from outside the box which misses right.

66:34

Corner taken right-footed by Sam Mantom from the right by-line, Shot from 12 yards from Paul Downing. Save by Simon Eastwood.

65:27

David Connolly challenges Adam Chambers unfairly and gives away a free kick. Free kick taken by Andy Butler.

64:02 Substitution

Substitution Ashley Harris comes on in place of Nathaniel Mendez-Laing.

63:49

Effort on goal by Jamie Paterson from inside the penalty box misses to the right of the target.

63:24

Corner taken short by Sam Mantom.

62:42

Unfair challenge on Will Grigg by Lubomir Michalik results in a free kick. The free kick is delivered right-footed by Craig Westcarr from left wing, clearance by Paul Benson.

61:44

Craig Westcarr takes a inswinging corner. Andy Butler has an effort at goal from close in which goes wide of the left-hand upright.

61:22

Malvind Benning takes a shot. Simon Eastwood makes a save.

60:41

The assistant referee flags for offside against David Connolly. Paul Downing restarts play with the free kick.

59:26

Shot from just outside the area by Will Grigg misses to the right of the target.

56:53

Free kick awarded for a foul by Darel Russell on Malvind Benning. Malvind Benning takes the free kick.

54:41

David Connolly fouled by Adam Chambers, the ref awards a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Lubomir Michalik.

53:36

Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Andy Butler by Paul Benson. Karl Darlow takes the direct free kick.

51:48

Mustapha Dumbuya produces a cross, save by Karl Darlow. Lee Williamson produces a left-footed shot from just outside the penalty box that misses to the left of the target.

50:25

Craig Westcarr takes a shot. Save by Simon Eastwood.

49:31

David Connolly has an effort at goal from just inside the box that misses to the right of the goal.

47:44

Jamie Paterson takes a shot. Simon Eastwood makes a comfortable save.

45:12

Free kick awarded for a foul by Paul Benson on Andy Butler. Karl Darlow restarts play with the free kick.

45:01

The match restarts for the second half.

45:01 Substitution

Substitution (Portsmouth) makes a substitution, with Scott Allan coming on for Liam Walker.

45:00 +1:37 Half time

Half Time It is the end of the first-half.

45:00 +1:12

Free kick awarded for a foul by Jamie Paterson on Lee Williamson. Direct free kick taken by Lubomir Michalik.

45:00 +0:27

Handball by Malvind Benning. Direct free kick taken by Adam Webster.

41:52

Free kick awarded for a foul by Mustapha Dumbuya on Febian Brandy. Free kick taken by Ben Purkiss.

39:56

Assist on the goal came from Febian Brandy.

39:56 Goal scored

Goal! - Will Grigg - Walsall 2 - 0 Portsmouth Will Grigg scores a goal from close range to the top left corner of the goal. Walsall 2-0 Portsmouth.

39:55

Febian Brandy takes a shot. Save by Simon Eastwood.

38:43

The assistant referee flags for offside against Paul Benson. Andy Butler takes the indirect free kick.

37:27

Ben Purkiss crosses the ball.

35:18

Foul by Darel Russell on Adam Chambers, free kick awarded. Craig Westcarr fires a strike on goal direct from the free kick,

34:38

Craig Westcarr takes a shot. Save made by Simon Eastwood.

32:13

Unfair challenge on Febian Brandy by Nathaniel Mendez-Laing results in a free kick. Jamie Paterson crosses the ball from the free kick right-footed from right wing, Mustapha Dumbuya manages to make a clearance.

29:55

Ben Purkiss delivers the ball, Johnny Ertl manages to make a clearance.

28:37

The assist for the goal came from Will Grigg.

28:37 Goal scored

Goal! - Febian Brandy - Walsall 1 - 0 Portsmouth Febian Brandy grabs a goal from close range to the bottom left corner of the goal. Walsall 1-0 Portsmouth.

28:35

The ball is delivered by Jamie Paterson.

28:01

Sam Mantom decides to take a short corner, Ben Purkiss produces a cross, Adam Webster manages to make a clearance.

27:42

Will Grigg takes a shot. Johnny Ertl gets a block in.

27:05

Will Grigg gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Adam Webster. Simon Eastwood restarts play with the free kick.

26:45

Free kick awarded for a foul by Mustapha Dumbuya on Febian Brandy. Free kick taken by Ben Purkiss.

23:37

Effort from just outside the area by Jamie Paterson goes over the bar.

23:01

Free kick awarded for a foul by Paul Benson on Paul Downing. Direct free kick taken by Ben Purkiss.

22:05

Outswinging corner taken from the right by-line by Sam Mantom, clearance by Paul Benson. Effort from outside the box by Jamie Paterson goes wide right of the target.

18:23

Adam Chambers delivers the ball, Shot on goal by Paul Benson from inside the box goes harmlessly over the target.

17:39

Johnny Ertl gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Will Grigg. Free kick taken by Febian Brandy.

16:37

Liam Walker takes a outswinging corner from the left by-line to the near post, clearance made by Craig Westcarr.

16:27

A cross is delivered by Nathaniel Mendez-Laing, clearance made by Andy Butler.

15:45

Sam Mantom has an effort at goal from outside the penalty area missing to the wide left of the goal.

12:20

The ball is crossed by Mustapha Dumbuya, David Connolly has a header from close in and clears the crossbar.

11:13

Craig Westcarr fouled by Darel Russell, the ref awards a free kick. Sam Mantom restarts play with the free kick.

10:54

Effort from 25 yards by Jamie Paterson. Save made by Simon Eastwood.

9:36

Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Nathaniel Mendez-Laing by Adam Chambers. The free kick is delivered left-footed by Liam Walker from left wing, Adam Chambers manages to make a clearance.

8:35

Lee Williamson gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Febian Brandy. Ben Purkiss takes the free kick.

8:26

Adam Webster sends in a cross.

6:50

Lee Williamson concedes a free kick for a foul on Febian Brandy. Direct free kick taken by Karl Darlow.

6:26

Corner taken by Liam Walker from the left by-line, Andy Butler manages to make a clearance.

6:15

Centre by David Connolly, Paul Downing manages to make a clearance.

5:16

Free kick awarded for a foul by Mustapha Dumbuya on Febian Brandy. Free kick taken by Ben Purkiss.

4:15

Centre by Paul Benson, Andy Butler manages to make a clearance.

2:24

Unfair challenge on Darel Russell by Febian Brandy results in a free kick. The ball is sent over by Liam Walker, Header from deep inside the area by Paul Benson goes harmlessly over the crossbar.

1:50

The referee blows for offside. Simon Eastwood restarts play with the free kick.

0:45

The ball is delivered by Jamie Paterson, Will Grigg takes a shot. Save by Simon Eastwood.

0:20

Centre by Jamie Paterson, Adam Webster gets a block in. Sam Mantom decides to take the corner short.

0:00

The match begins.

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