Boss pleased with Shrews success...Jon Whitney hailed his side’s gutsy performance after Walsall beat local rivals Shrewsbury 2-1 to keep their automatic promotion hopes alive.
Kieron Morris fired the Saddlers ahead with a crisp 11th-minute drive before Rico Henry’s deflected effort made it 2-0 on the stroke of half-time.
Ex-Walsall man Mat Sadler’s far-post header gave Shrewsbury hope but the hosts held on to close the gap on second-placed Burton to just three points.
“These players have got guts,” said Whitney afterwards. “I believe in them and that’s why they’re in the position they’re in. They can handle pressure.
“We are still in with a shout of automatic promotion and we believe we can do it.
“We were so disappointed Saturday but we showed our resilience and character, so credit to the players, credit to my staff and credit to the fans for not losing that belief.
“We showed people what we are about with our high-tempo passing football and we got between the lines. But we also we had that guile defensively which got us the win.
“There was a bit of tension in the second half and Shrewsbury gave us a test but I thought we deserved the win overall.
“We tried to play it the right way and they put us under pressure late on, pushing three or four up top. But I thought our game management was really good.”
Youngster Morris impressed in an unfamiliar central midfield role, scoring the Saddlers’ opener and receiving the sponsors’ Man of the Match award.
“Kieron was great, he got his goal and that’s why we put him in the team,” Whitney added.
“We wanted goals on the pitch – players who could get themselves into goalscoring positions because we knew Shrewsbury would put us under pressure if we gave it away.”