SADDLERS DENIED BY 'KEEPERS' HEROICSMATCH REPORT
WITH a large and vocal following in attendance, The Saddlers stepped out for our first competitive game at Greenhous Meadow in front of the live Sky TV cameras.
It was Walsall who started with purpose and a positive break by James Baxendale in the fifth minute saw him feed Jamie Paterson on the left and he got in a low strike that Chris Weale in the home goal did well to push out.
The next attack saw George Bowerman's deft touch play in Adam Chambers who broke through only for Weale to save his side again as Bowerman couldn't capitalise upon the rebound.
Another dangerous break on nine minutes saw Bowerman put the ball into the danger zone from the by-line but the 'keeper got his fingertips to it as The Shrews scrambled clear for a corner.
With The Saddlers looking the most likely side. Jamie Paterson launched another raid by finding Florent Cuvelier who made good progress before curling in an effort that Weale did well to save once more.
The home side looking to get a grip on the game as Marvin Morgan was denied by a timely challenge from Dean Holden and from the resulting corner, they opened the scoring through Paul Parry. It was cruel on The Saddlers who were the better side for the opening 25 minutes.
Chances were few and far between for the remainder of the half as The Shrews protected their lead and The Saddlers failed to find the impetus of the opening exchanges.
As half-time approached, Cuvelier required treatment as he went down in the middle of his own half. He was okay to continue after treatment from John Whitney.
HALF-TIME: Shrewsbury Town 1 Walsall 0
Both sides had half-chances at the start of the second period.
A free-kick played high into the area in search of Andy Butler on 55 minutes saw the skipper brought to ground but the appeals for a penalty were promptly waved away by the referee.
The first change saw Ashley Hemmings replace Cuvelier on 58 minutes.
There was a real let-off for the home side just past the hour when a corner was taken quickly following a counter-attack from Walsall and it found the head of Andy Butler who rattled the woodwork and as the ball fell into the danger zone, The Shrews defended for their lives to keep the ball out.
There was plenty of action with 20 minutes to go when the ball found its way through to Bowerman who was denied by the alert Weale. The ball found its way straight down the other end where Marvin Morgan got away from Butler and as the ball found its way to Parry, his strike crashed against the crossbar and eventually away to safety.
Youngster, Aaron Williams came on for Baxendale.
There was another good chance for Walsall as Andy Taylor did well out wide before pulling the ball across towards Bowerman who found Aaron Williams via a deflection and his effort was skewed well wide.
The third and final change saw Febian Brandy take the place of Bowerman.
A Matt Richards free-kick was pushed out by Karl Darlow with ten minutes to go.
Try as we might, Walsall just could not find a way through the Shrewsbury rear-guard. Butler was booked in stoppage time for showing his frustration as he joined the attack.
A foul on Brandy gave The Saddlers a last-gasp free-kick out wide. Everyone up, including Karl Darlow, but the delivery wasn't good enough and with it went our last chance of getting anything out of the game.
FULL-TIME: Shrewsbury Town 1 Walsall 0
WALSALL: Darlow, Taundry, Butler, Holden, Featherstone, A. Chambers, Cuvelier (Hemmings), Paterson, Bowerman (Brandy), Baxendale (Williams). A. Taylor.
ATTENDANCE: 6,495 (1,442 away).