Goals from Payne and Gnahoua see off Walsall
Town: Craig MacGillivray, Joe Riley, Chris Gallagher, Ebou Adams, Christos Shelis, Zak Jules, Dan James, George Hughes (John McAtee 60), Stefan Payne, Niall Ennis (Ryan Barnett 75), Arthur Gnahoua
Subs: Cameron Gregory, Rhys Davies, Josh Agbozo, Ryan Barnett, John McAtee
Walsall: Liam Roberts, Liam Kinsella, Callum Cockerill-Mollett, Reece Flanagan, Ben Candrick, Corey Roberts, Maz Kouhyar, Jordon Sangha, Cameron Peters, Will Shorrock, Mitch Candlin
It was a strong Town side which lined-up for the fixture with Stefan Payne partnering Niall Ennis upfront, whilst Joe Riley made his return from injury.
Town started the game strongly and took the lead with 12 minutes on the clock as Dan James, who was playing on the left-hand side, found Stefan Payne with his back to goal and Payne turned well before finishing into the bottom corner form 10 yards.
However, Walsall hit back quickly when Mitch Candlin, who signed his first professional deal on Monday, cut inside from the left before unleashing an unstoppable effort into the top corner from 25 yards.
Town had the better of the rest of the half with Dan James hitting the crossbar from the edge of the box after a great run and Payne almost grabbed a second with another shot on the turn, but this time Liam Roberts made the save.
The second half was a quieter affair with chances limited for either side. Walsall did manage to hit the bar when Reece Flanagan struck a wonderful free-kick from 30 yards, which had MacGillivray beaten, but it thundered off the woodwork and bounced to safety.
Town’s best opportunity came when Dan James ran onto a brilliant ball from Arthur Gnahoua. James found himself one-on-one with Liam Roberts, but the Walsall ‘keeper made himself big and stuck out a right-hand to stop Dan’s shot.
However, Shrewsbury did find a winner late on when Dan James returned the favour for Gnahoua who took a touch before firing into the bottom corner from 12 yards.