Luton Town 1 - 0 Walsall
Walsall came within two minutes of holding runaway League One leaders Luton but were denied a point by a late penalty.
Neil Emblen appeared to push Chris Coyne as they challenged for the ball in the air and top-scorer Steve Howard smashed home the spot-kick to register his 19th goal of the season and give the Hatters a ten-point lead in the chase for a place in the Championship.
So Walsall's four-match unbeaten run was ended in disappointing fashion but there were many encouraging signs in the way they completed against the best team in the division.
Walsall again used the new system of five men across midfield, with just Matty Fryatt a lone striker in the absence of Jorge Leitao who was unavailable and they frustrated Luton for long spells.
Had the Saddlers used the ball a little better at times in the final third, they might even have won in the second half when they looked reasonably comfortable.
Skipper Simon Osborn was an inspirational figure in midfield, having probably his best game for the club, while young Kris Taylor and Andrew Surman gave him plenty of support but, in the end, one defensive mistake cost them dearly. It was the first goal Walsall had conceded in three games and against the side they had beaten at Bescot earlier in the season.
The Hatters dominated the first half and after forcing three successive corners, Howard hammered one volley over the bar then Steve Robinson struck a shot just wide when Howard, so good in the air, flicked the ball on.
In the 23rd minute, Rowan Vine managed to break through the visitors' defence but stroked the ball straight into the hands of Joe Murphy; then Vine whipped the ball across the face of goal where Howard, at the far post, just failed to touch it home.
Walsall were making little impression as an attacking force and a shot from Kris Taylor which flew high and wide was one of the rare moments of the first half when they looked dangerous, although Surman tried an outrageous dipping shot from 40 yards in the 37th minute which sailed just wide.
Luton should have scored three minutes from half-time from a corner by Kevin Nicholls but Howard, for once escaping the attentions of the impressive Ian Roper, drove his eight-yard header high over the bar.
The Saddlers were much improved going forward in the second half, with young Daryl Taylor growing in confidence and causing problems with his pace, though occasionally his inexperience showed with his final use of the ball.
In the 63rd minute, with the visitors piling on the pressure, two successive corners ended with Zigor Aranalde having a shot blocked in the crowded penalty box.
Shortly afterwards, Fryatt also had a drive blocked from Daryl Taylor's pass and Emblen hammered a shot high into the crowd from Osborn's free kick.
Walsall's sometimes wasteful use of the ball in good positions was, however, highlighted on two occasions with first Aranalde, then Mark Wright, crossing the ball behind the goal from excellent positions.
Inevitably, the Hatters piled on the pressure in the dying minutes and after defending a couple of corners well, Walsall conceded a needless penalty when Coyne, with his back to goal and offering no real threat, was pushed by Emblen and the referee had no hesitation in pointing straight to the spot.
Howard gave Murphy no chance with the well-struck penalty and the Hatters then survived some desperate attacks from Walsall in the two minutes of added time.
This defeat surely ends any hopes Walsall had of making the promotion play-offs, but there was enough quality in the performance to suggest they will finish the season above the halfway mark.