Keeper Richard O'Donnell's blunder cost Walsall dear as Preston kept up their promotion push with a win at Deepdale.

Paul Downing's innocuous third-minute back pass was missed by O'Donnell and the backtracking keeper failed to stop the ball rolling over the line.

Sam Mantom equalised soon after for the Saddlers from a rebound after his first effort was parried by Declan Rudd.

Bailey Wright then headed home Paul Gallagher's free-kick before Mantom was sent off for a high tackle late on.

Walsall have fallen five points adrift of the play-off zone after a winless run of three defeats in four matches.

Walsall manager Dean Smith told BBC WM:

"The sending off was a strange decision. It was two players going for a ball that was in the air. I felt that Sam actually won the ball and we will certainly consider an appeal.

"Even with 10 men, we gave it everything but we just didn't get the breaks. Neither side deserved to lose but we must now we look for a response against Coventry on Wednesday night.

"We gifted them an early lead but our reaction was excellent, as we levelled straight away.

"We'll come back stronger. I believe in this set of lads. More importantly, they believe in themselves. It's about getting back some momentum. We've had positive runs before and there is no reason why we can't start another."

Lineup, Bookings (5) & Substitutions (6)

Preston North End

  • 23 Rudd
  • 32 Wiseman
  • 03 Laird
  • 02 Keane
  • 05 Clarke
  • 06 Wright Booked
  • 07 Humphrey (King - 95' )
  • 37 Kilkenny (Brownhill - 66' )
  • 17 Davies
  • 14 Garner Booked (Beavon - 87' )
  • 12 Gallagher

Substitutes

  • 01 Stuckmann
  • 09 Davies
  • 10 Beavon
  • 11 Holmes
  • 16 Buchanan
  • 22 King
  • 30 Brownhill

Walsall

  • 01 O'Donnell
  • 15 Chambers Booked
  • 14 Benning
  • 08 Mantom Dismissed
  • 04 Butler Booked
  • 12 Downing
  • 29 Brandy (Baxendale - 66' )
  • 07 Chambers
  • 10 Westcarr
  • 06 Featherstone (Sawyers - 66' )
  • 09 Lalkovic (Ngoo - 81' )

Substitutes

  • 02 Purkiss
  • 16 Baxendale
  • 22 Roberts
  • 24 Hewitt
  • 25 Sawyers
  • 26 McQuilkin
  • 30 Ngoo
Ref: Seb Stockbridge
Att: 10,034

Match Stats

Shots

9 4

On target

5 2

Corners

6 1

Fouls

17 7

Live Text Commentary

Full time

Full Time Match ends, Preston North End 2, Walsall 1.

90:00 +6:33 Full time

Full Time Second Half ends, Preston North End 2, Walsall 1.

90:00 +5:06

Foul by Andrew Butler (Walsall).

90:00 +5:06

Tom Clarke (Preston North End) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

90:00 +4:11 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Preston North End. Jack King replaces Chris Humphrey.

90:00 +3:01

Attempt saved. James Baxendale (Walsall) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top right corner.

90:00 +2:25

Corner, Walsall. Conceded by Tom Clarke.

90:00 +2:02

Adam Chambers (Walsall) wins a free kick on the right wing.

90:00 +2:02

Foul by Keith Keane (Preston North End).

90:00 +0:23

Foul by Scott Laird (Preston North End).

90:00 +0:23

James Baxendale (Walsall) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

89:54

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

89:53

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

89:14

Delay in match Keith Keane (Preston North End) because of an injury.

86:41 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Preston North End. Stuart Beavon replaces Joe Garner.

81:52 Dismissal

Dismissal Sam Mantom (Walsall) is shown the red card.

81:46

Foul by Sam Mantom (Walsall).

81:46

Joe Garner (Preston North End) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

80:13 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Walsall. Michael Ngoo replaces Milan Lalkovic.

79:55

Attempt missed. Craig Davies (Preston North End) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the left.

78:35

Sam Mantom (Walsall) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

78:35

Foul by Craig Davies (Preston North End).

76:13 Booking

Booking Joe Garner (Preston North End) is shown the yellow card.

75:09

Hand ball by Adam Chambers (Walsall).

71:44

Milan Lalkovic (Walsall) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

71:44

Foul by Craig Davies (Preston North End).

69:30

Corner, Preston North End. Conceded by Adam Chambers.

65:49 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Walsall. Romaine Sawyers replaces Nicky Featherstone.

65:34 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Walsall. James Baxendale replaces Febian Brandy.

65:18 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Preston North End. Josh Brownhill replaces Neil Kilkenny.

63:57

Corner, Preston North End. Conceded by Richard O'Donnell.

63:43

Attempt saved. Craig Davies (Preston North End) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

61:45

Attempt missed. Keith Keane (Preston North End) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the right.

59:00

James Chambers (Walsall) wins a free kick on the left wing.

58:54

Foul by Joe Garner (Preston North End).

57:49

Attempt blocked. Sam Mantom (Walsall) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

56:29

Milan Lalkovic (Walsall) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

56:29

Foul by Tom Clarke (Preston North End).

53:25

Corner, Preston North End. Conceded by Adam Chambers.

52:00

Neil Kilkenny (Preston North End) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

51:51

Foul by Craig Westcarr (Walsall).

50:29

Adam Chambers (Walsall) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

50:29

Foul by Keith Keane (Preston North End).

49:33

Richard O'Donnell (Walsall) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

49:33

Foul by Neil Kilkenny (Preston North End).

49:04

Attempt saved. Craig Davies (Preston North End) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom right corner.

48:32

Attempt missed. Keith Keane (Preston North End) left footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the right.

45:00

Second Half begins Preston North End 2, Walsall 1.

45:00 +2:09 Half time

Half Time First Half ends, Preston North End 2, Walsall 1.

45:00 +0:18

Attempt saved. Keith Keane (Preston North End) left footed shot from the right side of the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

41:38

Adam Chambers (Walsall) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

41:38

Foul by Joe Garner (Preston North End).

40:03

Sam Mantom (Walsall) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

40:03

Foul by Keith Keane (Preston North End).

38:50

Milan Lalkovic (Walsall) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

38:50

Foul by Joe Garner (Preston North End).

37:54

Attempt missed. Nicky Featherstone (Walsall) left footed shot from the right side of the box is close, but misses to the left.

35:35

Attempt blocked. Chris Humphrey (Preston North End) left footed shot from the right side of the box is blocked.

32:10

Milan Lalkovic (Walsall) wins a free kick on the right wing.

32:10

Foul by Paul Gallagher (Preston North End).

28:05 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Preston North End 2, Walsall 1. Bailey Wright (Preston North End) header from the centre of the box to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Paul Gallagher following a set piece situation.

27:25

Foul by Paul Downing (Walsall).

27:25

Joe Garner (Preston North End) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

26:21

Febian Brandy (Walsall) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

26:21

Foul by Keith Keane (Preston North End).

25:07

Corner, Preston North End. Conceded by Paul Downing.

24:45 Booking

Booking James Chambers (Walsall) is shown the yellow card.

24:38

Foul by James Chambers (Walsall).

24:38

Joe Garner (Preston North End) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

23:35

Corner, Preston North End. Conceded by Richard O'Donnell.

23:20

Attempt saved. Joe Garner (Preston North End) header from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom left corner.

22:58

Corner, Preston North End. Conceded by Sam Mantom.

18:06

Sam Mantom (Walsall) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

18:06

Foul by Bailey Wright (Preston North End).

11:38

Craig Westcarr (Walsall) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

11:38

Foul by Tom Clarke (Preston North End).

10:14

Paul Downing (Walsall) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

10:14

Foul by Joe Garner (Preston North End).

9:38

Foul by Malvind Benning (Walsall).

9:38

Chris Humphrey (Preston North End) wins a free kick on the left wing.

5:54

Malvind Benning (Walsall) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

5:54

Foul by Keith Keane (Preston North End).

4:24 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Preston North End 1, Walsall 1. Sam Mantom (Walsall) left footed shot from outside the box to the bottom right corner.

2:53 Goal scored

Goal! Own Goal by Paul Downing, Walsall. Preston North End 1, Walsall 0.

0:00

First Half begins.

0:00

Lineups are announced and players are warming up.

Live data and text provided by our data suppliers