League One
Walsall2Shrewsbury1

Walsall 2-1 Shrewsbury Town

Walsall celebrate with Kieron Morris
Kieron Morris celebrates with his team-mates after putting Wallsall in front

Walsall secured a play-off place and narrowed the gap on second-placed Burton Albion to three points as they beat League One strugglers Shrewsbury.

The Saddlers led 2-0 at half-time after Kieron Morris' low 11th-minute right-foot shot was followed by a deflected strike from Rico Henry.

Former Saddlers defender Mat Sadler then headed home Andy Mangan's cross on the hour to pull one back.

But, despite an improved second-half display, Town remain at risk.

With two matches left, they could still be overhauled by two of the bottom four clubs - Blackpool and Doncaster Rovers.

Saddlers boss gets right reaction

Walsall interim boss Jon Whitney made four changes following Saturday's 4-0 defeat at Bradford City, the Saddlers' biggest of the season, dropping Liam Kinsella, Andy Taylor, Sam Mantom and Jordy Hiwula.

It had the right effect in a much improved first-half display capped by two goals - both rewards for surging runs.

Morris glided along the edge of the box before turning to plant a low right-foot shot into Jayson Leutwiler's bottom-right corner.

His third goal of the season - and second in three games - was followed on the stroke of half-time by Henry's jinking run inside from the left flank, before his shot took a big deflection and bobbled over the line beyond the despairing Leutwiler. It was also his third goal of the season but his first since September.

After Sadler headed powerfully home from Mangan's superb hanging right-wing cross, substitute Ian Black's deflected shot then looped off Henry onto the top of the bar - but Shrewsbury got no nearer

The final shake-up

In the battle for the second automatic promotion place, Burton are up next at home to faltering Gillingham, before Walsall host Fleetwood in a televised lunchtime game on Bank Holiday Monday.

On the final day, the Saddlers are at Port Vale, while Burton are at relegation battlers Doncaster.

Shrewsbury's final two matches are at home to managerless Peterborough this Saturday before a final-day trip to Swindon.

Walsall boss Jon Whitney told BBC WM:

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Whitney on Walsall v Shrewsbury

"It got a bit tense but we deserved to win overall. These players can handle pressure. I believe in them.

"We were so disappointed on Saturday but we're resilient. We showed character and we're still in with a chance of automatic promotion.

"It would have been a lot easier for Burton if we'd got beat tonight, but we've made it a bit more nervy for them now."

Shrewsbury manager Micky Mellon told BBC Radio Shropshire:

"I was disappointed with the first-half performance but I take responsibility for that. I pick the shape and the personnel.

"We need to manage the fuel tanks inside their heads. A few looked a bit chuggy but the big positive on the night was the energy we added. The second half was miles better.

"We looked a real threat after the break and we can count ourselves a little unlucky not to get something. But we move on now and get the lads ready for a massive game on Saturday."

Line-ups

Walsall

  • 1Etheridge
  • 2Demetriou
  • 4O'Connor
  • 6Downing
  • 14Henry
  • 7Chambers
  • 12Forde
  • 18MorrisSubstituted forHiwula-Mayifuilaat 88'minutes
  • 10Sawyers
  • 15LalkovicSubstituted forMantomat 75'minutes
  • 9BradshawSubstituted forCookat 79'minutesBooked at 90mins

Substitutes

  • 3Taylor
  • 8Mantom
  • 13MacGillivray
  • 16Preston
  • 21Cook
  • 22Kinsella
  • 31Hiwula-Mayifuila

Shrewsbury

  • 1Leutwiler
  • 20Knight-Percival
  • 4Whitbread
  • 24HendrySubstituted forBlackat 17'minutesBooked at 77mins
  • 3Sadler
  • 17Ogogo
  • 14WesolowskiBooked at 27minsSubstituted forColeat 52'minutes
  • 15Grimmer
  • 11Kaikai
  • 19Mangan
  • 26Akpa-AkproSubstituted forWhalleyat 52'minutes

Substitutes

  • 6Black
  • 7Vassell
  • 8Wellens
  • 10Whalley
  • 21Halstead
  • 29Cole
  • 31Smith
Referee:
David Coote
Attendance:
5,339

Match Stats

Home TeamWalsallAway TeamShrewsbury
Possession
Home53%
Away47%
Shots
Home17
Away5
Shots on Target
Home6
Away3
Corners
Home2
Away2
Fouls
Home8
Away12

Live Text

Match ends, Walsall 2, Shrewsbury Town 1.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Walsall 2, Shrewsbury Town 1.

Corner, Shrewsbury Town. Conceded by James O'Connor.

Foul by Romaine Sawyers (Walsall).

Ian Black (Shrewsbury Town) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Booking

Jordan Cook (Walsall) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Substitution

Substitution, Walsall. Jordy Hiwula-Mayifuila replaces Kieron Morris.

Jordan Cook (Walsall) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Nathaniel Knight-Percival (Shrewsbury Town).

Foul by Romaine Sawyers (Walsall).

Jack Grimmer (Shrewsbury Town) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Romaine Sawyers (Walsall) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Ian Black (Shrewsbury Town).

Attempt missed. Sam Mantom (Walsall) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the left.

Foul by Romaine Sawyers (Walsall).

Abu Ogogo (Shrewsbury Town) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Substitution

Substitution, Walsall. Jordan Cook replaces Tom Bradshaw.

Booking

Ian Black (Shrewsbury Town) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Sam Mantom (Walsall) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Ian Black (Shrewsbury Town).

Substitution

Substitution, Walsall. Sam Mantom replaces Milan Lalkovic.

Attempt missed. Romaine Sawyers (Walsall) right footed shot from outside the box is just a bit too high.

Attempt missed. Ian Black (Shrewsbury Town) right footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the left.

Corner, Shrewsbury Town. Conceded by Rico Henry.

Attempt saved. Milan Lalkovic (Walsall) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top centre of the goal.

Attempt blocked. Tom Bradshaw (Walsall) left footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked.

Attempt missed. Anthony Forde (Walsall) left footed shot from outside the box misses to the left.

Foul by Adam Chambers (Walsall).

Shaun Whalley (Shrewsbury Town) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Romaine Sawyers (Walsall).

Jack Grimmer (Shrewsbury Town) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Attempt saved. Milan Lalkovic (Walsall) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom right corner.

Attempt missed. Jason Demetriou (Walsall) right footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the left from a direct free kick.

Tom Bradshaw (Walsall) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Nathaniel Knight-Percival (Shrewsbury Town).

Attempt saved. Andy Mangan (Shrewsbury Town) right footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the bottom right corner.

Attempt saved. Milan Lalkovic (Walsall) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom right corner.

Goal!

Goal! Walsall 2, Shrewsbury Town 1. Mat Sadler (Shrewsbury Town) header from the left side of the box to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Andy Mangan.

Attempt blocked. Milan Lalkovic (Walsall) right footed shot from long range on the right is blocked.

Attempt missed. Tom Bradshaw (Walsall) header from the left side of the six yard box is close, but misses to the left.

goal

Scores, Results & Fixtures

Tuesday 26th April 2016

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Wigan442315677413684
2Burton442491155361981
3Walsall4422121063481578
4Millwall442291368482075
5Bradford4421111252401274
6Barnsley442171664511370
7Gillingham4419121369521769
8Scunthorpe4419111457471068
9Sheff Utd441812146354966
10Rochdale441811156458665
11Port Vale441811155652465
12Coventry4417121562481463
13Southend441611175660-459
14Peterborough44176217369457
15Bury441512175368-1557
16Swindon441510195969-1055
17Oldham441218144453-954
18Chesterfield44148225568-1350
19Shrewsbury441311205572-1750
20Fleetwood441115184953-448
21Blackpool441210223954-1546
22Doncaster441112214761-1445
23Colchester44912235495-4139
24Crewe44613254380-3731
View full League One table

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