Walsall led but Payne leveled, Town had chances but overall a scrappy second half but important point
Full Time: Shrewsbury Town 1-1 Walsall
Despite the pressure, Hurst’s side were made to settle for a point and Town are now two points clear of the League One drop zone with just three games to play.
Whalley and Gary Deegan both had efforts from distance comfortably saved as Town dominated proceedings in their search for a winner.
It was all Town from that moment on and they thought they had the lead just minutes later when Toto Nsiala poked home after a scramble, but the offside flag curtailed the celebrations.
His deep cross found Payne, and his connection was spot on as he sent a looping header past MacGillivray into the far corner to send the Greenhous Meadow into raptures.
Once again, it was Whalley’s excellent delivery that provided one of the biggest moments of Town’s season with 20 minutes to go.
First Edwards saw his bending free kick saved by Leutwiler before Morris went close again, sending a low drive just past the far post.
Town pressed hard in the early stages of the second half, allowing Walsall to break freely.
Half Time: Shrewsbury Town 0-1 Walsall
Town had a half chance to level the scores just before half time with Dodds’ lovely chip in behind finding the head of Whalley but the goalkeeper read the direction of the ball to make a simple stop.
Jack Grimmer’s error allowed Edwards down the left again and this time Bakayoko’s effort from the cross was met with a solid stop, and the Canadian international Leutwiler produced a stunner to tip over the bar when the rebound fell to Morris.
The visitors ended the half well on top and Town had their goalkeeper to thank for keeping the score at 1-0 going into the break.
Joe Edwards found space in the left channel and his pinpoint cross was headed home by Morris, leaving Jayson Leutwiler with no chance.
Town had a few decent chances, with Shaun Whalley’s wide delivery causing the most problems, but Walsall delivered a sucker punch just 10 minutes before half time.
His pull back was perfect for Adamou Bakayoko but the forward rolled his effort just wide when he really should have scored.
The away side had a golden chance midway through the first period when Alex Rodman’s stray pass allowed Southampton loanee Jason McCarthy in down the right.
Payne was the lucky man on the end of the opportunity, and he showed great technique to bend a shot towards the far post with the outside of his foot, but it went just off target.
Town – unchanged from Saturday’s 1-0 win vs. Rochdale - sensationally had a chance to take the lead after just 15 seconds after a mistake at the back from Eoghan O’Connell.
Both sides were backed by a vociferous derby atmosphere, and Paul Hurst’s men produced a thrilling second half fight back after Kieran Morris had given the away side the lead 10 minutes before the break.
Stefan Payne scored his second goal in as many games to earn Shrewsbury Town a vital point in their quest for League One survival as they came from behind to draw 1-1 vs. Walsall.
: 6801 (1144) Attendance
Fourth Official: Joe Simpson
Assistants: Mark Griffiths and Danny Gratton
: Nigel Miller Referee
: Ganley, Laird, Dobson, Cuvelier (66), Jackson (66), Candlin (88), Moussa. Subs
: MacGillivray; Preston, O’Connor, O’Connell; McCarthy, Osbourne, Chambers ©, Morris (66), Edwards; Bakayoko (88), Makris (66). Walsall
: Halstead, Riley, Humphrys (45), Yates (90), Ladapo (61), Leitch-Smith, El-Abd. Subs
: Leutwiler; Grimmer, Nsiala, Sadler ©, Brown; Whalley, Morris, Deegan, Rodman (61); Dodds (45); Payne (90). Town