Cup 2nd Round! Walsall 2-1 Shrewsbury Town
Walsall overcame League two Shrewsbury Town on Tuesday night and booked their place in Johnstone's Paint Trophy second round.
Shrews were the narrow favourites for victory but superb strikes from Ryan Jarvis and Richard Taundry saw them through.
It was a return for Matthew Richards after he signed for the Shrews following his surprise exit from the Banks's. He became a first time dad the day before so Vital Walsall sends their congratulations to him and his family.
The first half started fairly even with the Shrews just about on top, but Walsall were quick at their feet. Taundry, Westlake and Chambers linked up well but Jacobson stopped them in their tracks.
However, Walsall took their chance and went one ahead when Jarvis launched the ball from quite a distance outside the area and it was unstoppable for Shrews keeper Neale to contain. 1-0.
Saddlers were ahead and the game was there for the taking.
It was a pacy and energetic half as Walsall sought to capitalise on their lead.
Gnapka was playing well at the defence and picked up the loose balls coming his way.
Westlake linked up but Jarvis fired wide. Richard Taundry then connected with Jarvis but Jermaine Grandison was hot on their heels.
Walsall had much of the possession and were in command when Taundry made it 2. The ball failed to clear in the Shrews goal and the ball fell to Taundry on the left hand side, again out of the box and he made no mistake to double their lead. 2-0 and the game was looking wrapped up.
Bradshaw put the ball wide as Shrewsbury put in some good play between Gornell, Richards, Leslie and Jacobson as the first half came to an end.
The second half opened with Shrewsbury Town was mostly on top but Walsall had done their bit and only had to defend to clinch the victory.
On 47 minutes, Salop got a goal back. Gornell, Richards played Jacobson in and he launched the ball causing to Andy Butler to head into his own net. 2-1.
Walsall spent pretty much the rest of the half defending as Shrews saw much of the ball. Butler was on hand to see the ball to safety as Richards, McAllister, Hazell, Wright passed the ball well. Grandison was there to clear from Nicholls
Saddlers were then awarded penalty on 69 minutes. The home faithful couldn't believe it as we waited 2 years for one and now a flurry of them in a matter of weeks! 6ft 4 Grandison pushed over Alex Nicholls and the ref pointed to the spot.
Jarvis stepped up and, to the delight of ther visting crowd, he hit the underside of the bar and missed the chance to make it three. Oh well, the lead was still ours.
David Grof was on hand to save as Morgan, Richards, McAllister, Jacobson and Leslie linked up well. Shrewsbury were then awarded a free kick in a dangerous area and Matthew Richards stepped up and fired way over the bar. The 26 year-old only suffered a few boos from the home side supporters.
Wroe then skyed a good chance to pull level after some good work by Richards, Jacobson, Wright and Leslie.
As the half came to an end, hearts were in the mouths of the visiting support as the ball rattled the Walsall area bobbled and bounced but was eventually cleared to safety. Heartstopping stuff!
As the game wound down, Walsall just defended as Shrews piled on the pressure. They were able to keep the lead and victory was theirs.
It was a great night and Walsall are through the second round of a cup. Hurrah! It was a really positive display and all the goals are taken really well as the Dean Smith revolution marches on.
Up The Saddlers!