Saturday, 7 October 2017

MATCH REPORT | Walsall 1 Shrewsbury Town 1

MATCH REPORT | Walsall 1 Shrewsbury Town 1

The Saddlers returned to action on Saturday afternoon as they played host to league leaders Shrewsbury Town. Here is our match report.
Whitney's Walsall returned to action on Saturday afternoon as they faced off against league leaders Shrewsbury Town at Banks's Stadium. We were in attendance, and you can read our Match Report below.

The match got underway with the Saddlers shooting towards the Tile Choice stand. Shrewsbury Town saw plenty of the ball early on, but were unable to create any chances of note as the Saddlers defences stood firm. The play became scrappy, as both sides settled into the game without keeping the ball for any great length of time or creating anything in front of goal.

Twelve minutes in, the Saddlers won the first corner of the match, thanks to a long ball from James Wilson which found Luke Leahy, whose touch was deflected behind by Alex Rodman. The ball in from the Joe Edwards looked to be a good one, but Leahy was just unable to connect with it and Junior Brown was able to clear.

The Saddlers continued to press and in the fourteenth minute, their hard work paid off, when the ball came to Daniel Agyei twenty five yards out, the Walsall front-man curling a wonderful dipping, right-footed shot over ex-Saddler Craig MacGillivray into the Shrews net to put his side ahead.

Walsall's lead was short lived, as five minutes after their goal, they conceded their eighth penalty of the campaign when a ball from Louis Dodds found the head of Stefan Payne prompting Jon Guthrie to make a late save to prevent the goal, using his hand. Thankfully, for the hosts, he was spared a card, but Payne sent Mark Gillespie the wrong way with the spot-kick and brought the sides level.

Town, buoyed by their goal, began to dominate, winning a corner in the twenty third minute, which Dodds turned into the Walsall box, but nobody was able to get a firm touch on it and after it ricocheted off Aristote Nsiala, Gillespie was able to make the save. The visitors continued to enjoy a good spell of possession, but were unable to create any further chances of note as the game progressed.

Thirty four minutes in, a touch of brilliance from Kory Roberts denied the visitors a second goal, the youngster doing well to get back and clear the ball off the line after Payne got himself in behind Gillespie. Moments later, Shrewsbury went one better, with Payne firing a powerful volley into the back of the net, but the linesman's flag was raised for an infringement of the offside rule and the goal was disallowed. The Saddlers so lucky not to be trailing.

Seven minutes before half-time, Walsall won a corner, which was swung in to the back-post by Erhun Oztumer, but Dodds was on hand for the visitors and blocked. Moments later, the Saddlers won another corner when a cross from Kieron Morris, aimed at Amadou Bakayoko, was cleared behind, but the flag-kick came to nothing as it sailed over the waiting bodies and sailed behind for a goal-kick.

Three additional minutes were awarded at the end of the first half, but neither side were able to make use of them and the sides headed off for their half-time refreshments with the score tied.

Walsall 1 Shrewsbury Town 1

The second half got underway with the sides unchanged. The visitors started brightly, with Dodds sending a deep cross in towards the back post three minutes in, but none of his teammates were able to get anything on it and it sailed harmlessly behind.

Both teams enjoyed good spells of possession as the half continued, but neither was able to create any further chances until Town won a corner in the fifty fourth minute, but the Saddlers defences were able to deal with the danger with ease. The visitors quickly regained the ball, which Dodds crossed into the path of Rodman in a promising move, but Rodman was in an offside position and the move came to an abrupt end.

Shortly after we reached the hour mark, Payne found himself in space on the edge of the box, and got a shot away, but Roberts was well placed for the home side and blocked the effort, allowing Gillespie to gather, keeping the sides level.

The Saddlers won a corner in the sixty sixth minute, but MacGillivray was able to get a fist to the ball to clear the danger. The visitors quickly worked the ball up to the other end, where a ball in from Rodman was deflected across the face of goal before being put wide by Payne, who was offside.

In the sixty eighth minute, Walsall made the first change of the game, replacing goalscorer, Daniel Agyei with Tyler Roberts.

The visitors won a corner with seventy minutes on the clock, which Dodds swung in towards the back-post where James Bolton got his head to it, turning it wide of the post without troubling Gillespie.

In the seventy first minute, Shrews captain, Abu Ogogo became the first player to enter the referee's notebook, picking up a yellow card for a poor challenge on Edwards. Moments later, the visiting bench opted to make their first change of the afternoon, introducing Shaun Whalley and Carlton Morris into the game in place of Alex Rodman and Louis Dodds.

Bakayoko joined Ogogo in the referee's notebook in the seventy sixth minute, for a late challenge on Mat Sadler.

As we entered the final ten minutes, a good move from the Saddlers, saw Oztumer head into the box with the ball, which he chipped towards the back post, but nobody was able to get a touch and the ball trickled harmlessly behind.

Town won a penalty seven minutes from time, which Whalley played into the Saddlers box, where Brown got up well to get his head to it, but his effort dropped wide of the post. Moments later, back at the other end, the hosts felt they should have been given something when Bakayoko was brought down on the edge of the box, but the referee remained unmoved and waved play on.

The visiting bench made their final change just two minutes from time, with goalscorer Stefan Payne being replaced by Arthur Gnahoua.

In the final minute, Walsall saw a fabulous chance saved by MacGillivray, the former Saddler being called into action to deny Tyler Roberts a close-range headed goal.

Three additional minutes were awarded at the end of the regulation ninety, and although Walsall went close through a Morris cross into the box, which Oztumer was unable to connect with and the Shrews won a late corner, neither side were able to find a last gasp winner, and the spoils were shared, with the sides taking a point apiece from a hard-fought game.

Walsall 1 Shrewsbury Town 1
Agyei (13') // Payne (PEN 20')
ATTENDANCE | 5,971 (1,643)
REFEREE | Graham Salisbury

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