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Whitney: A draw was fair

9 October 2017

Jon Whitney felt a point apiece was fair after the Saddlers were held to a hard-fought derby draw by unbeaten League One leaders Shrewsbury.

Dan Agyei’s stunning 13th-minute curler put Walsall ahead but Town equalised seven minutes later, Stefan Payne converting a penalty after Jon Guthrie had handled.

Tyler Roberts could have won it for the hosts late on but ex-Saddler Craig MacGillivray produced an impressive reaction save to turn the striker’s header over the bar.

The result extended our unbeaten home run to eight matches and Whitney believed a draw was the right outcome.

“I thought it was an entertaining game and a fair result,” said the boss. “It would have been a little bit unjust if Tyler had scored at the end but it was a great save from Craig.

“I’m happy with a point and you can see why they are where they are. They’ve got good energy and put you under pressure.

“I thought the first 20 minutes we were very dominant and stuck to the game plan really well.

“It was frantic and it was going to be because we had two teams who were very organised and disciplined.

“We nullified their threat and played beyond their press and picked up second balls in the final third, which was our game plan.

“We created some good opportunities but it would have been a bit unjust to win the game at the end.

“I would have loved to have nicked it but I’m happy with a point.”

With captain Adam Chambers ruled out through injury, Whitney switched to a back three with young defender Kory Roberts deployed at the heart of the defence.

Roberts hardly put a foot wrong and was named the sponsors’ man of the match – and Whitney was full of praise for the 19-year-old.

“Kory was outstanding,” Whitney added. “I like his character and the way he takes everything.

"He always looks you in the eye and takes criticism really well, very constructive and learns from it quickly. If you’ve got that you will develop quicker than most.

“He’s a young centre-half we’ve got really high hopes for and he’s a really top kid as well. If you’ve got those ingredients, hopefully you’re going to be successful for Walsall.”


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