Youngsters pegged back in group stage draw...A goal in the dying minutes of the game denied Walsall a cup victory over rivals Shrewsbury Town.
Neil Woods’ boys went 1-0 down early on from a deflected free kick but an inspired second half performance and two Cameron Peters goals looked enough to secure victory. However Shrews substitute Ofori came on to rescue a point for the home side in the first group game of the new cup format.
The start of the game didn’t go to plan for the young Saddlers as Shrewsbury scored with the first real attempt with just six minutes on the clock. McAtee won a free kick at the edge of the box and got up to take the set piece which clipped the wall and beat goalkeeper Ganley.
Then, Shrewsbury almost doubled their lead shortly after but Gallagher’s effort from the edge of the box clipped the post.
The Saddlers then got themselves into the game, started to knock the ball around nicely and carve out some note worthy chances.
Firstly, O’Sullivan went close with an effort which went just wide before Hayles-Docherty stung the palms of Gregory with a powerful volley from the edge of the box.
Walsall were unlucky to go into the break a goal down as they began to pile on the pressure at the end of the half. Centre half Vann came up for a corner and the ball dropped for him to strike but his effort was deflected the wrong side of the post.
Peters then produced the best chance of the half as he let the ball run across to his right foot and his edge of the box shot was brilliantly saved on the stroke of half time by the diving Gregory in goal.
Half-time: Shrewsbury 1-0 Walsall
The half time team talk from Neil Woods seemed to invigorate the young Saddlers as they raised the bar considerably in the second half. And it took them just over ten minutes to level the score line.
Hayles-Docherty found himself in a dangerous position on the right hand side and he had the vision to pick out Peters in the box who finished coolly past the Shrews keeper.
With the score now level the game started to open up and become more end to end which Walsall exploited. Just before the 70 minute mark Walsall won a penalty after a challenge on Shorrock from Roberts which warranted no complaints from the home side.
Peters stepped up to bury the ball into the bottom corner to double his tally and put his side in the lead.
Shrewsbury then switched tactics and went from a back three to a back four in an attempt to stop Walsall gaining a further advantage. However the Saddlers were unable to put the game out of sight and were made to rue their chances.
Ofori was found in the area from a cut back and finished with a low shot a couple minutes before time to the delight of the Shrews.
Walsall were then fortunate to not lose the game as McAtee got in behind for a one on one in the final minute but Ganley stood tall and blocked well to hold on to the draw.
Full-time: Shrewsbury 2-2 Walsall
Team: Ganley, Tonks, Vann, Kendrick, Cockerill-Mollet, Maddocks, Mason, Shorrock, O’Sullivan (Freemantle 66’), Hayles-Docherty (Cairns 78’), Peters (Candlin 86’).
Subs not used: Friel, Perry.