MATCH REPORT | Walsall 2 Shrewsbury Town 1 MATCH REPORT | Walsall 2 Shrewsbury Town 1
Posted by: Bescot Banter

MATCH REPORT | Walsall 2 Shrewsbury Town 1

On Tuesday evening, Jon Whitney's Saddlers returned to action as they faced near-rivals Shrewsbury Town in the latest Sky Bet League 1 clash of the season. Our stats report is below.
On Tuesday evening, Jon Whitney's Saddlers returned to action as they faced near-rivals Shrewsbury Town in the latest Sky Bet League 1 clash of the season. Our stats report is below.

The Saddlers lined up in something of a 4-4-1-1 formation as, watched by Wolves boss Kenny Jackett, and Millwall manager Neil Harris amongst others, the visitors got the game got underway. Within seconds of kick-off, Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro and Andy Mangan combined to find space behind the Walsall defence but Neil Etheridge was alert to the tame shot.

Some nice play from the Saddlers saw Milan Lalkovic set Tom Bradshaw away, ahead of Zak Whitbread. Bradshaw hooked his shot inches wide of the near post. The Saddlers kept up the pressure with Kieron Morris sending in a firm shot from twenty five yards out. Leutwiler blocked the shot and Hendry cleared the danger. A bright start from the hosts.

The Shrews continued to present a danger, and but for an alert Jason Demetriou, may have been in on goal as Sullay Kaikai almost got on the end of a wayward back pass.

Eleven minutes in, a calmly taken right-footed shot from twenty yards, saw Kieron Morris open the scoring as the ball nestled into the bottom corner of the net.

Keen to extend their lead, Walsall continued to press, with Morris doing well to get the ball to Milan Lalkovic who blazed the ball over the bar.

Five minutes after going behind, Shrewsbury reacted. Making their first change of the evening, they introduced Ian Black in place of Jack Hendry, signalling a change in formation from 3-4-1-2 to 4-3-1-2 as they attempted to address their issues in midfield.

The tempo slowed a little following the change as both teams settled into the game. Walsall continued to enjoy a lot of freedom with the ball but were content to keep possession in midfield as they patiently sought to create further chances.

With twenty seven minutes on the clock, James Wesolowski became the first player added to the referee's notebook after pulling Morris down just inside the Walsall half as he attempted to break.

Shrews 'keeper, Leutwiler found himself in trouble as his goal-kick was almost charged down by Bradshaw, fortunately for him the ball fell to a Shrewsbury defender who cleared the danger.

With ten minutes of the half still to play, Anthony Forde found himself in a position to shoot, twenty five yards from goal, but his angled drive went well wide of the post.

Shrewsbury enjoyed a better spell of possession as we neared half-time, as they got the ball in and around the Saddlers final third, but the finishing touch was lacking and eventually Walsall got the ball and launched a counter attack, as they found space on the left, before seeing a Lalkovic cross inadvertently diverted goal-wards by Whitbread. The ball fell straight to Leutwiler. A huge let-off for the visitors.

Two minutes shy of the break, the Saddlers found their breakthrough, as Henry went on a lovely run before sending a low driven shot in on goal. The ball took a big deflection but bobbled over the line past Leutwiler to double the Saddlers lead. An excellent end to a half.


The teams returned to the field unchanged after enjoying their half-time refreshments and Walsall got us back underway. The Shrews started the second half much brighter than they finished the first, enjoying several half-chances but unable to create anything to test Etheridge in the Walsall goal.

Seven minutes into the half, a double substitution saw Akpa Akpro and Wesolowski replaced by Shaun Whalley and Larnell Cole. An early roll of the dice from the Shrews bench.

Shrewsbury continued to put pressure on the Walsall defences, but the Saddlers remained a threat on the break and with almost an hour played, Walsall won two corners in quick succession, the first of the match. Grimmer did well to clear the danger from both.

With sixty minutes on the clock, a Mangan cross found an unmarked Mat Sadler waiting at the far post and the ex-Saddler coolly headed the ball home to get his side back into the game.

The game really opened up following the Shrewsbury goal, both sides applying plenty of pressure as we saw end-to-end action.  Walsall looked to respond quickly to the goal, and Lalkovic found himself in shooting range, but sent his low effort straight at Leutwiler. The visitors wasted little time in regaining possession as they sought to draw the match level and Kaikai saw a shot blocked before Etheridge smothered the rebound which came in from Mangan. Some excellent attacking play on show from both teams.

With sixty four minutes on the clock, Lalkovic sent in a low effort from twenty five yards out, which was parried by Leutwiler. Within a minute, Town had broken and won a free-kick twenty five yards from goal, as Adam Chambers caught Whalley. Black took the kick, which Etheridge punched away and Walsall broke again through Forde, who flashed a left-footed shot wide of the post.

The Saddlers enjoyed a decent spell, with Bradshaw seeing two shots blocked in quick succession before Lalkovic fired straight at Leutwiler.

The Shrews responded with an excellent chance of their own, as Whalley broke down field, before passing to Mangan who in turn passed to Black, who saw his shot deflect off Morris and hit the top of the crossbar.

The visitors continued to press, winning a corner which was taken by Kaikai and fell to Cole who blazed the ball high and wide. The home side regained possession and quickly made their way back up to the other end, where Sawyers curled a right-footed shot in, which had just too much on it and sailed narrowly over the bar.

Fifteen minutes from time, Ian Black was cautioned as he was adjudged to have fouled Sam Mantom, who had taken to the field mere moments earlier, replacing Milan Lalkovic.

Four minutes later, the Saddlers made their second change of the evening, introducing Jordan Cook in place of Tom Bradshaw.

The pace of the game slowed a little, as Walsall seemed to take a little control. Seven minutes from time, Mantom flashed a shot from eighteen yards, wide of Leutwiler's right post and two minutes later, a low cross from Sawyers was almost turned in at the far post by Henry. Whalley did well to make a vital interception to keep his team in the game.

Two minutes from time, Walsall made their third and final change of the evening, replacing Kieron Morris with Jordy Hiwula.

Four minutes of additional time were awarded, as Jordan Cook picked up a booking for kicking the ball away.

Walsall continued to press as the game entered it's final stages, but were unable to add to their tally and the match ended with the Saddlers winning by two-goals-to-one, taking all three points and securing at least a fifth place finish.

GOALS | Morris (11'), Henry (44') - Sadler (60')
ATTENDANCE | 5,339 (696 Shrewsbury)
REFEREE | Mr. David Coote | Nottinghamshire
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