Walsall 3 Stockport County 0
Walsall neatly condensed their entire season into 90 curious minutes at the Bescot on Saturday - they started brightly, lapsed into torpor then finished with a flourish.
Just as they began the campaign on the offensive, they went into cruise control against a beleaguered County side.
But after 20 minutes they allowed League One's lowliest team to grow in confidence and establish a foothold in their quest for a first win in 11 games. It was all too reminiscent of the Saddlers' more fruitless months.
Then, with the game drifting away, they scored not just once but three times in a sixminute spell of spellbinding attacking football.
The catalyst was teenage striker Matt Fryatt who scored a sumptuous opener with a strike that demonstrated his strength, quick feet and instinctive finishing.
The young forward's 15th league goal of the season earned him a bit of extra spending money for his summer hols by ensuring he fulfilled his target for the year thus activating the goalbonus clause in his contract.
While his manager Paul Merson won't particularly enjoy dipping into his skintight budget he could do nothing but purr at they way Fryatt forced him to cough up.
Picking up a loose ball 25-yards out he shrugged off his maker Ludovic Dje, evaded two more challenges, tiptoed into the Stockport area and passed it into Neil Cutler's left corner. It was the deadly caress of an assassin.
"For me that is goal of the season," said Merson.
Fryatt's introduction just before the hour confirmed his status as the major plus of Walsall's season. He opened up the game for other people and should have created the match's first goal for midfielder Darren Wrack.
He had only been on four minutes when he chased a nothing ball into the corner and out muscled Ashley Williams before he picked out Wrack on the edge of the box who curled his shot on to the top of the crossbar proving it was a day on which he would never score.
He had spurned Walsall's best chance of the first-half - a 17th minute penalty given after Julian Joachim was barged over by Dje - with one of the worst spotkicks in living memory.
But, after their tardy goalblitz it would be churlish to focus too much on the negative stuff at the expense of hailing their best sequence of results of the season.
Merson handed first-team debuts to two of the club's young prospects.
Jon Harkness a chance at left-back where he performed credibly in his preferred position and then as a centre-half when Ian Roper limped off just before the break. The other new boy was midfielder Mark Bradley who was competent in the engine room.
In the final seconds Michael Standing was tripped just outside the area and Kris Taylor curled the free-kick in off the underside of the bar for 2-0.
Then, deep into stoppage time, Joachim sprung the offside trap, raced around Cutler and squared for Mark Wright to roll into an empty net.
Scorers: Fryatt (85), Taylor (89), Wright (90).
WALSALL (4-5-1): Oakes; Pead, Harkness (Leit?o, 78), Roper (Taylor, 44), Gerrard; Wright, Standing, Osborn, Bradley (Fryatt, 57), Wrack; Joachim. Subs: Kinsella, Murphy
STOCKPORT COUNTY (4-4-1-1): Cutler; Hardiker, Horwood, Williams, Dje; Allen, Briggs, Hurst (Cartright ,67), Jackman; Barlow; Le Fondre. Subs McEwan, Tomlinson, Turnbull, Kay.
Referee: K Wright (Cambridgeshire). Bookings: Walsall - Gerrard (foul) Stockport - Williams (foul).
Walsall man of the match: Anthony Gerrard - defensively commanding and constructive with the ball.