Walsall scraped past non-league Alfreton 1-0 as they nervously booked an FA Cup third-round trip to Southampton.
The League Two side got off to a flier when they took just six minutes to score what proved to be the only goal of the game from Jamille Matt.
Douglas James-Taylor’s menacing run down the left opened up the non-league side’s defence, skipper Donervon Daniels’ miscued shot fell kindly and Matt kept his cool to score from close range.
But there was no further breakthrough as Alfreton keeper George Willis made solid saves to deny Brandon Comley, Tom Knowles, Ryan Stirk and a James-Taylor header, while Matt twice should have done better in one-on-ones.
In a first half of six bookings, including one for visiting boss Billy Heath, the visitors were starting to threaten a lot more as half-time approached. And the National League North side stepped it up after the break.
Walsall had chances to seal it a bit more comfortably as James-Taylor hit a post with a wide angled chip, while Liam Gordon went close with a left-foot shot.
But the closest either side came was a blocked shot from visiting skipper Shaun Brisley which span up over the bar – to ensure that it is Mat Sadler’s Saddlers who go to St Mary’s on January 6.