Posted by: Bescot Banter •


Following Saturday afternoon's Sky Bet League One clash between rivals Walsall and Shrewsbury Town, Bescot Banter columnist Scott Brotherton shares his Match Report.
Following Saturday afternoon's Sky Bet League One clash between rivals Walsall and Shrewsbury Town, Bescot Banter columnist Scott Brotherton shares his Match Report;

The only change to the team that beat Bradford on Tuesday was James Baxendale replacing the Milan Lalkovic, with the loan star going back to parent club Chelsea for treatment on his injured hamstring.

Any Walsall nerves were settled very early on when Craig Westcarr opened the scoring after just five minutes. He received the ball 25 yards out with his back to goal, seemingly going nowhere.

But the striker suddenly spun and aimed a shot towards the bottom left corner. It surprised the Shrews' defence and their goalkeeper Joe Anyon, who could only tip the ball off the post as it found its way into the net.

Just a minute later Salop could have been level though. Joseph Mills' corner was glanced across goal by Asa Hall and defender Connor Goldson smashed the ball over at the far post.

The Saddlers settled into a rhythm after this scare, and Andy Taylor's teasing low cross was screaming for a touch but his teammates were slow getting into the opposition penalty area.

Joe Jacobson sliced a long distance half volley horribly wide as Mike Jackson's men were showing why they are the lowest scorers in the division.

James Baxendale then broke forward for Walsall, turning inside and out before dragging a shot past Anyon's far post and Westcarr nearly undid his good work when his misplaced short corner set Shrewsbury on the counter, but they weren't committed enough and the attack petered out.

There was no pressure at all coming from the visitors and, after what felt like about 50 unchallenged passes, Westcarr's shot struck the side of the woodwork on its way wide.

Hall put comfortably wide from 20 yards and the game had really become lacklustre. The Saddlers had dropped down a gear to Shrewsbury's level after going ahead.

Anyon punched clear Taylor's free kick in added time as the half ended 1-0 and with Walsall well in control.

H/T: Walsall 1 Shrewsbury Town 0

The second period certainly started with a better tempo to it and Romaine Sawyers' drive was deflected for a corner just five minutes into the half.

A fantastic chance came the way of Andy Butler not much later. Following brilliant work by Baxendale on the right, the captain slid in to meet his whipped cross but flashed the volley wide.

Things got worse for Shrewsbury on 62 minutes when left-back Mills was given a straight red card for a dangerous challenge on James Chambers.

Mills' tackle was well over the ball, out of control and with studs showing so it gave referee Robert Madley little option.

The fans who had travelled from Shropshire were clearly angered by the red card, jeering every unfavourable decision for a long time afterwards.

Two opportunities then fell to the Saddlers and they should have killed the game off. First Sawyers couldn't put enough venom in his three-yard header from a high looping ball and the keeper did well to push Brandy's vicious effort over the crossbar.

And with 18 minutes to go Walsall were also down to ten men after Westcarr completely lost his head. The striker was down receiving treatment from physio Jon Whitney after bearing the brunt of a meaty challenge, when he unexpectedly sprung up off the deck and head-butted Shrewsbury's Sam Foley!

Something must have been said or done by Foley to provoke such a reaction but even so, it was a moment of madness from Westcarr and means he will miss the next three games.

With the game reduced to ten against ten Town came forward in search of an equaliser and had a few corners at the death. However, they just cannot seem to score this season and Walsall preserved the clean sheet without too much trouble.

They move up to eighth after a poor day for play-off rivals MK Dons, Port Vale and Sheffield United, who all failed to win.

F/T: Walsall 1 (Westcarr 5') Shrewsbury Town 0
Attendance: 4,222 (503)
Referee: Robert Madley, West Yorkshire.

By: Scott Brotherton.

© 2014 - Bescot Banter: An independent look at Walsall Football Club.
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