Walsall 1-1 Shrewsbury: excellent Roberts

Payne levels from the spot – bbc.co.uk

In a cagey afternoon of good team defending, Walsall held league leaders Shrewsbury Town to a 1-1 draw, as Stefan Payne’s first half penalty cancelled out Daniel Agyei’s opener. Here’s our player ratings from the game.

Walsall

Mark Gillespie – didn’t have to make a single save apart from the penalty from which Shrewsbury scored. 4

Nicky Devlin – negated the threat posed by Dodds and was disciplined defensively, though his distribution could have been better. 6
James Wilson – made some excellent interceptions, especially in the second half. 8
Kory Roberts – put in an outstanding performance with maturity beyond his years. Saved the day on 34 minutes, clearing the ball off the line after Payne had rounded the keeper. 9
Jon Guthrie- handled the ball for the penalty and might have passed the ball better, but he read the game superbly in the second half. 7
Luke Leahy – the defensive nature of his job meant he couldn’t get forward quite as often as he might have liked. Generally solid. 6

Joe Edwards – nullified Nolan with effective closing down, but didn’t offer too much in possession. 6
Kieron Morris – didn’t come alive in an attacking sense until the closing stages, when he crossed for Roberts’ header, perhaps their best chance of the second half. 4

Erhun Oztumer – in a long ball contest that didn’t suit him, he struggled to adapt to the physical side of the game and was unable to find space behind Ogogo and Godfrey. 2

Amadou Bakayoko – lots of running but little product. Guilty of slowing play down when Walsall broke in the latter stages. 3
Daniel Agyei – his power down the left channel caused problems early on, forcing James Bolton back before curling in the opener. His use of the ball and movement without it can be improved. 5

Tyler Roberts (on 68) – could have scored against his old club in the latter stages, but his header was tipped over by McGillivray. 6

Shrewsbury

Craig MacGillivray – might have got closer to Agyei’s effort for the goal, but saved Roberts’ late header. Didn’t get the kindest reception upon his return. 5

James Bolton – struggled to handle Agyei’s power early on and wasn’t too confident going into challenges, but he at least kept his discipline. 5
Aristotle Nsiala – excellent in the air and snuffed attacks out early. His no-nonsense defending kept Walsall at bay whilst more advanced teammates weren’t at the races. 9
Mat Sadler – more tactically restrained than his centre-back partner. Because he’s a full-back by trade, he approaches his role with more caution and is perhaps content to cede territory in order to stop his opponents from getting in behind. 8
Junior Brown – normally an attack-minded full-back but here he couldn’t find the space to drive forward. Kept Bakayoko quiet when needed though. 6

Abu Ogogo – battled for the ball at certain moments but never really showed the intent to make the central areas his own. 4
Ben Godfrey – solid enough but a little too similar to Ogogo. On this evidence, Shrewsbury may need another player who can create from deep when they face similarly defensive opposition. 5
Jon Nolan – normally the one man who can kick-start attacks in midfield but today his influence was restricted. 3

Alex Rodman – one or two flashes of creativity, including a second half cross for Payne but largely on the periphery of the game. 5
Louis Dodds – almost anonymous in an attacking sense, but the way he tracked back to produce a last-ditch block on Edwards’ effort just before half-time epitomized the work ethic in this team. 4
Stefan Payne – didn’t see too much of the ball, but had at least two clear cut chances including the penalty from which he equalized. Fluffed his lines on a couple of other occasions though. 6

Carlton Morris (on 76) – put on alongside Payne in hoping of occupying the three centre-backs, but to little avail. 4
Shaun Whalley (on 76) – one corner that found Brown at the back-post aside, he didn’t quite have the desired impact. 5
Arthur Gnahoua (on 89)