Walsall 2 Hartlepool United 0
Three wins, three clean sheets, and a plus-five goal difference have Walsall sitting pretty at the top of League Two after a hectic opening seven days of the season.
Their win over Hartlepool came courtesy of two stunning goals from Dean Keates, the captain. It continued the club's perfect start, even if the overall performance was less than impressive.
Richard Money, the Walsall manager, can hardly have asked for more from the first week of the new campaign and yet it is difficult to know just how good this Walsall side is and what its' chances of success really are.
So far the Saddlers have beaten three mediocre teams, who all currently lie in the bottom six of the table and in the last two games, they have been helped on their way by the inadequacies of the opposition.
On Saturday, they benefited from playing a Hartlepool side that cannot buy a goal, literally. The salary-cap Hartlepool are operating under means they cannot sign any more players and with Gavin Strachan missing his side's third penalty in a week, Danny Wilson, the Hartlepool manager, is approaching the end of his tether.
"You cannot have the amount of chances we've had over the last three games and not convert one goal. We've had forty chances, easily, in three games and not scored," he moaned.
"We've got strikers at the football club who score for fun in training, but that doesn't help us.
"People have to be taking responsibility in front of goal and if we're going to have to bring someone else in to do that for us, then I'm going to do it.
"I just hope the salary cap is lifted, sooner rather than later."
Walsall have problems of their own and Money is certainly under no illusions as to the strengths and weaknesses of his side and has planned his season accordingly. "I thought we were a little bit flat, to be perfectly honest," he said. "But it's tough to get players up for three matches in seven days.
"To get nine points from the first three games is a dream start, but that's all it is, it's just a start.
"Our passing wasn't as crisp as it has been and we certainly didn't defend as well as we can and at times we rode our luck a little bit, but it gives me something to work on on the training pitch this week.
"We've set ourselves some short-term goals for each period of five games. We know exactly what we need to finish as champions, what we need to finish in the top three places and exactly what we need to finish in the play-off places."
Money's approach so far appears to be paying dividends; certainly, his ability to get his side 'up' for the first seven days of the season has made up for any deficiencies in the team.
Walsall are a side who appear to be greater than the sum of their parts. Against Hartlepool, they worked as a team, covered every inch of the pitch, tackled manfully and had that little bit of luck that sometimes seems to follow winning sides around.
They were far from dominant and were somewhat fortunate to come up against a side with Hartlepool's problems upfront.
Amongst numerous missed chances by the visitors were Strachan's effort from the penalty, which was at a nice pace and height for Clayton Ince in the Walsall goal; Joel Porter twice found himself free of the last defender but then lacked the speed to do anything about it and substitute James Brown found himself with only Ince to beat and dragged the ball wide from four yards.
In the end, though, despite the slowness of the defence and the misplaced passes, Keates' goals in a ten-minute spell in the first half were enough. Two strikes from out-side the area, each with the same result.
Overall, Walsall probably deserved the victory, but it is far too early to be talking about titles and promotion.
A competent forward line will cause havoc in Walsall's defence and the damage a striker with genuine pace could cause doesn't bear thinking about.