Match Report: Shrewsbury Town 0 Walsall 0 Match Report: Shrewsbury Town 0 Walsall 0

Match Report: Shrewsbury Town 0 Walsall 0

Here is our Match Report from Saturday evening's season-ending clash between Shrewsbury Town and Walsall.
The Saddlers went into the match with a simple task, secure three points. Anything less and they stood no chance of retaining their place in League One for at least another season

Even with a win Martin O'Connor's men would have to rely on a couple of favourable results elsewhere as their 2018/19 campaign had failed to meet expectations with the Saddlers tilling in the dropzone for the last eight matchdays.

Shrewsbury Town got the match underway, with both sides taking some time to settle into the game. With six minutes on the clock, a mistake from Luke Waterfall almost allowed Andy Cook an early shot on goal, but Omar Beckles was alert to the danger and cleared ahead of the Walsall front-man.

The action continued to centre in and around the midfield area, with neither side creating anything going forwards. Though thirteen minutes in, the Saddlers won a free-kick in a promising position, which Luke Leahy swung into the box, but the Shrews defences were able to clear and break through Tyrese Campbell, who over-hit his eventual pass, seeing the move breakdown.

Shrewsbury won the first corner of the afternoon in the seventeenth minute as Connor Johnson was forced to put the ball out of play, but Chris Dunn was first to the in-swinging effort and punched clear.

The hosts should have opened the scoring in the twenty-second minute as a corner kick from Oliver Norburn found the head of James Bolton, but the Johnson was well placed and cleared the ball off the line, with the resulting flag-kick coming to nothing.

There was a brief stoppage in play in the twenty-fourth minute whilst Nicky Devlin received treatment, but the midfielder was soon back on his feet and able to continue.

The Saddlers continued to struggle as the game continued, creating little and struggling to maintain possession as the nerves looked to be getting the better of them.

Town were awarded a free-kick in a dangerous position in the thirty-second minute for a foul by Josh Gordon, but the set-piece came to nothing and the game continued as a nervy midfield battle.

A lovely ball over the top from Norburn set Campbell away in the thirty-seventh minute, with the ball eventually being played to Greg Docherty who fired an effort in from the edge of the area, which was easily saved by Dunn.

The home side continued to press, winning a free-kick just outside the box for their efforts in the thirty-ninth minute, but the Saddlers defences stood firm and ensured the scores stayed level.

Walsall finally managed to work the ball into the Shrewsbury box in the forty-second minute, thanks to a corner kick conceded by Beckles, but Cook’s headed effort sailed wide of the upright without troubling the man between the sticks.

James Bolton became the first player to enter the referee’s notebook in the forty-third minute, seeing yellow for a foul on Gordon.

The Saddlers enjoyed a brighter end to the half, winning back-to-back corners in the final moments, but the side were unable to make use of them, and after two additional minutes were played out, the sides headed off for their half-time refreshments, and a good talking to.

0 - 0

Shrewsbury opted to make a change to their line-up ahead of the second-half, with Matt Sadler taking the place of Luke Waterfall as Walsall got the action back underway. Just moments after kick-off, George Dobson found himself on the receiving end of a yellow card for a foul on Docherty on the edge of the box. The resulting free-kick was taken by Fejiri Okenabirhie who was unable to beat the wall.

The game returned to something of a midfield battle as the sides settled back in, until a fifty-third minute foul by Anthony Grant on Gordon saw the Saddlers awarded a free-kick right on the edge of the area. Dobson stepped forward to take the set-piece, but Johnson was unable to connect with the in-swinging ball and the Shrews cleared the danger.

The Saddlers continued to press, winning a corner in the fifty-fourth minute, as the ball was knocked out of play just as Cook was about to unleash an effort on goal. The ball in was good and fell to Joe Edwards just outside the box, but the midfielder’s half-volley sailed wide of the upright.

Walsall continued to look the brighter side, with Edwards again getting involved in the sixty-first minute. The midfielder racing towards goal before firing a low, curling effort in on goal, but Jonathon Mitchell was alert to the danger and parried the shot away from his goal.

Gordon won his side a corner in the sixty-third minute as the Saddlers continued to look for a breakthrough. Leahy swung the ball in from the flag-kick, finding Scott Laird, who saw his effort on goal blocked.

The hosts opted to make their second change of the afternoon, sixty-five minutes in, with Fejiri Okenabirhie making way for Josh Laurent.

The men from the Bescot felt they should have been awarded a penalty in the sixty-seventh minute as Devlin was pulled to the ground inside the area, but the referee was unmoved by their appeals and waved play on.

Shrewsbury, after a spell of defensive work, managed to get the ball up to the other end in the sixty-eighth minute, winning a corner for their efforts as a cross from Bolton was turned behind. The ball in was good, but Bolton was unable to keep his headed effort on target, the ball sailing wide of Dunn’s upright.

Town continued to enjoy a brighter spell, winning another corner as we reached the seventy minute mark through Docherty. The flag-kick was played short and the Saddlers were able to quell the danger.

The hosts soon had the ball back in the danger area, with Campbell doing well to work his way into space before calling Dunn into action, the ‘keeper doing well to beat the ball away, with the resulting corner coming to nothing.

Walsall almost opened the scoring in the seventy-seventh minute as Leahy whipped the ball in for Cook, but the strikers header trickled wide of the upright.

With seventy-eight minutes on the clock, the Saddlers opted to make their first change of the afternoon, Joe Edwards the man to make way as Aramide Oteh joined the fray.

A brace of Walsall corners followed the change, but the visiting side were unable to make them count.

Seven minutes from time, Walsall opted to make their second change of the afternoon, with Isaiah Osbourne taking the place of Liam Kinsella for the run in.

The visitors continued to enjoy a good spell, forcing a good save from Mitchell in the eighty-fifth minute, as Dobson combined with Devlin. The latter looking to play the ball under the Shrewsbury shot-stopper, who did well to get a leg to it to prevent the goal.

The hosts chose to make their third and final change three minutes from time, with Anthony Grant making way for Romain Vincelot.

Town felt they should have been awarded a spot-kick in the final moments of the game, as Norburn went to ground inside the area, but the referee saw no foul and waved play on.

Four additional minutes were added to end the game, during which time Cook fired a twenty yard effort wide and Dunn stopped a twelve yard effort from Laurent finding the target, but there was nothing the Saddlers could do to stop the slide into League Two.

A disappointing display to end a dismal season.

0 - 0

Attendance: 9,635 (1,649 Walsall)
Referee: Seb Stockbridge
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