Late Walsall goal ends Town's unbeaten ho
Town: Craig MacGillivray, Joe Riley, Ben Godfrey, Mat Sadler, Omar Beckles, Abu Ogogo (c), Arthur Gnahoua (Christos Shelis 81), Lenell John-Lewis (Carlton Morris 67), Bryn Mors, Alex Rodman (Shaun Whalley 67), Stefan Payne
Subs: Cameron Gregory, Louis Dodds, Ebou Adams, Chris Gallagher.
Walsall: Liam Roberts, Joe Edwards, Luke Leahy, Jon Guthrie, Adam Chambers (c), Kieron Morris, James Wilson, Liam Kinsella, Zeli Ismail, Amadou Bakayoko, Maz Kouhyar.
Subs: Mark Gillespie, Nicky Devlin, Simeon Jackson, Erhun Oztumer, Reece Flanagan, Shaun Donnellan, Daniel Agyei
Referee: Trevor Kettle
Assistants: David Playwright and Paul Thompson
Fourth Official: Simon Mather
Jon Nolan missing for Town after aggravating a hip injury on Saturday. Toto Nsiala is rested, Shaun Whalley drops to the bench. James Bolton is suspended for the competition.
Tyler Roberts is missing for Walsall as he's been picked for Wales U21.
Attendance: 1,701 (171 from Walsall)
Summary: Town fall to their first home defeat of the season after a sending off and a last minute goal from Walsall.
A cool breeze greeted the teams as they lined up before the start of the game. Town start the game kicking toward the Pro Vision CCTV Stand and it was a nervy opening for Town with Walsall looking to take hold of the initiative with Ismail going close after a couple of minutes.
With just under 10 minutes gone, Town started to push Walsall a little down the left side with Alex Rodman winning a couple of corners. Walsall continued to look for openings but found them closed off relatively quickly by Town’s unfamiliar defensive line up that looked like a back three whilst defending, with Rodman and Riley tying to make progress down the flanks.
Best chance so far came from Arthur Gnahoua who made space to shoot from 20 yards, which forced a save from Roberts in the Walsall goal.
With five minutes to go until the halftime break, Rodman found Stefan Payne in space in front of goal but he couldn't quite beat the keeper this time. In truth, the first half wasn't particularly spectacular but with both teams looking to give as little away as possible, things got a little congested in midfield and opportunities were limited.
Half time: Shrewsbury Town 0-0 Walsall
Neither team made any changes at half time. After five minutes of both teams trying to force their game on the other, Walsall won a couple of corners and a free kick but Town were equal to the pressure and rappelled Walsall’s advances, knowing that a clean sheet was all that was needed for Town to get a home draw in the next round by finishing top in the group.
With 67 minutes gone Paul Hurst refreshed his attacking options by introducing Shaun Whalley and Carlton Morris in place of Alex Rodman and Lenell John-Lewis. Within seconds Whalley put Stefan Payne in on goal with possibly the best chance of the game so far but it wasn't quite close enough to break the deadlock.
With just over 15 minutes, Walsall mad a change, bringing Reece Flanaghan on for Maz Kouhyar. Not long after Leahy and Ben Godfrey clashed with the former ending up on the floor and the latter taking an early bath after Trevor Kettle saw enough in the challenge to produce a straight red card.
With around ten minutes of play left, Christos Shelis replaced Gnahoua to shore things up a little following Godfrey's dismissal. In the final minutes, Walsall pushed on a little and made a little progress down their right wing but nothing of any great danger was produced until the final minute when Bakayoko found space to put the ball away and take the three points and first place in the final standings, and home advantage in the draw for the next round.
Shrewsbury Town 0-1 Walsall