WALSALL v SHREWSBURY (FAC1)
THE SADDLERS set out on the FA Cup trail with a first round home clash with Shropshire rivals, Shrewsbury Town - exactly the same as we did this time last year!
The teams stepped out on a soggy Banks's Stadium surface.
It was the visitors who started well and after a raid in the opening minute ended with a cross from the right over-hit, it didn't take long for The Shrews to get in front when a corner was half-cleared as far as Mark Ellis who fired low through a group of players to make it 1-0 on five minutes.
It was a generally nervy start from Walsall as we looked to get into our stride against well-organised opposition.
Our first chance saw James Chambers latch on to a corner but his effort was cleared.
There was a positive break from Anthony Forde which ended with him firing just wide of the target.
Richard O'Donnell made a fantastic save to deny James Collins from point-blank range and as the ball rebounded off the top of the crossbar he was alive to punch clear. This could be a crucial moment in the game.
The last action of the half saw Tom Bradshaw make room for a strike on goal from the angle, however, the 'keeper was able to block as the ball was scrambled clear.
There was more purpose about The Saddlers at the start of the second period and after appeals for a penalty as James Baxendale went down were waved away, Anthony Forde had an effort that was kept out in unconventional fashion by the 'keeper.
It wasn't long before the leveller arrived when former Shrewsbury man, Tom Bradshaw went through the middle and slotted home coolly to level matters.
Parity did not last long, though, as a controversial free-kick awarded to The Shrews on the edge of the area saw James Collins restore their lead.
The first change for The Saddlers saw Mathieu Manset replaced Baxendale.
An effort from distance by Andy Taylor lands just wide of the target.
There was a further change as Sam Mantom came on for Forde whilst Shrewsbury were forced to change their 'keeper through injury.
A neat move from The Saddlers ends with a cross from the right by Ben Purkiss finding the head of Bradshaw whose deft effort goes just wide.
With the clock ticking down, Ashley Grimes replace Romaine Sawyers.
The Saddlers were back on level terms in the final minute when the ball goes in off Bradshaw to leave the 'keeper wrong-footed.
It meant that the game ended in a 2-2 draw with a replay required at The New Meadow.