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Town 1 Walsall 2

26 April 2016

Better second half from Town, Sadler goal gives hope but it's the home side who win

Town: Jayson Leutwiler, Mat Sadler, Zak Whitbread, Sullay Kaikai, James Wesolowski (Larnell Cole 51) Jack Grimmer, Ogogo, Andy Mangan, Nathaniel Knight-Percival (c), Jack Hendry (Ian Black 15), Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro ( Shaun Whalley 51)

Subs: Mark Halstead, Kyle Vassell, Richie Wellens, Dom Smith

Walsall: Neal Etheridge, Jason Demetriou, James O'Connor, Paul Downing, Adam Chambers (c), Tom Bradshaw (Jordan Cook 77), Romaine Sawyers, Anthony Forde, Rico Hendry, Milan Lalkovic (Sam Mantom 74), Kieron Morris (Jordy Hiwula 87)

Subs: Craig MacGillivray, Andy Taylor, Matt Preston, Liam Kinsella

Ref: D Cooke

Assistants: D Richardson and A Moore

Fourth Official: I Smedley

Attendance: 5339 ( with 696 from Town)

Micky Mellon sticks with the same starting eleven and formation that he did on Saturday for the important away win at Gillingham.

Ahead of the game there was a big winter storm with hail lashing down onto the Banks's pitch, this stayed on the surface and when the game started it was making conditions a little slippy underfoot.

Town had a decent sight out goal moments after the start when Akpa Akpro found space in behind the Walsall defence, he managed to get a shot in but couldn't beat Etheridge.

Walsall had the better of the opening 10 minutes possession wise and created a couple of good openings, but Leutwiler was alert to this and his defence was doing it's job well.

Walsall's early pressure paid off after Morris found the space outside he Town box to come inside and was given time, he used this well and fired in a low shot that gave Leutwiler no chance and flew in at the base of the post to make it 1-0.

Morris was getting a lot of the ball in the middle and with 15 minutes on the clock Micky Mellon made an early change bringing on Ian Black to replace Jack Hendry, and it looked like an early change of formation to a traditional 4-4-2.

The first booking of the game went to Town after and attack had broken down, Walsall looked for a quick break with Morris until Wesolowski came across and pulled him back to pick up a booking and a free-kick to the Saddlers.

As the game wore on Town were starting to look a bit more of an attacking force, nothing in the way of clear cut chances but Town were looking a tighter outfit which was meaning Walsall had less space in the midfield than they had earlier in the game.

Walsall grabbed a second goal just before the break after Rico Hendry took the ball past a couple of Town players, he cut inside from the left in to the Town box, he got a shot in which took a deflection that wrong footed Leutwiler and trickled into the Town goal to make it 2-0.

Half-time: 2-0

Town looked brighter after the restart and were more of an attacking force taking the game to Walsall. There was good work down the flanks and the pressure was building on the Walsall goal. The forward were willing as well, and when the ball went back Etheridge there were always willing runners to close the Walsall keeper down.

With 51 minutes on the clock Micky Mellon made a double change with Shaun Whalley and Larnell Cole coming on to replace Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro and James Wesolowski as Town looked to get something from the game.

Town grabbed a goal back on 60 minutes with a nice attacking move that saw Whalley come forward with the ball and pass the ball down the right for Mangan to run to the by-line, he had options and floated a lovely ball to the backpost and there was Mat Sadler to head the ball home and make it 2-1.

It was a different Shrewsbury Town that had come out in the second half and they were attacking with pace and causing the home side a number of problems. The counter attacks were creating good chances and Shaun Whalley was a willing runner, he powered over the halfway line and kept going, he pushed play with to the left for Mangan, he cut inside and played the ball infield to Black, he took a touch and then fired in a shot that took a deflection to see it loop up and rebound off the bar.

Town were pressing and pushing and causing all sorts of problems for the home side, Whalley again was at the heart of it getting the ball and driving forward, he played a neat one two with Larnell Cole who played Whalley into the box, he drove an inviting cross across the face of goal but no one had gambled.

Walsall created a great chance with minutes left of the half, a good break down the right saw Forde get in behind the Town defence and drive a low ball to the backpost where Henry was waiting to turn it home, but Whalley had tracked back brilliantly and was there with an important foot to nick the ball away.

Town kept pushing and pushing right up to the final whistle but in the end it was the home side who took the important 3 points.

Full-time: 1-2

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