Walsall head coach Jon Whitney has told the club website that he is happy to win games ugly like they did against Shrewsbury Town.

Whitney warned his Walsall players that Shrewsbury would be like a wounded animal, more dangerous than ever, without their manager after Micky Mellon elected to leave the club to join Tranmere Rovers. And while it seemed as if that wouldn’t be true after Amadou Bakayoko put the Saddlers ahead, they soon learned what Whitney meant when Oliver Lancashire headed in an equaliser.

Walsall would go on to retake the lead through Kieron Morris before it was level once again through Junior Brown before the game was decided in dramatic fashion by Erhun Oztumer.

But the game will probably be remembered for how badly tempered it was with both sides having a player sent off. Ryan McGivern was sent off for his second bookable offence after having an off the ball clash with Bakayoko before he was sent off for his second yellow after his over exuberant celebrations for Oztumer’s winner.

Whitney said of the game: “It was a proper derby,”

“The only threat to us was ourselves when we perhaps had too many touches, similar to the Bolton game where they didn’t pass it quick enough.”

“We fell into that trap a little bit and for 5-10 minutes we didn’t pass it well enough or quick enough, but then we clicked a bit, pressed higher and created quite a few opportunities.”
“Sometimes it’s not about winning comfortably and playing great football, sometimes it’s about winning ugly and doing the basics better than the opposition, and I thought we did that.”
“We were disappointed to concede from two set-pieces, and we’ll look at that, but it’s nice to look at it when you’ve won – which I thought we deserved.”
“I’m pleased, that’s three wins now on the bounce and one defeat in seven. I said to the lads that if we can end the day with another win, it builds momentum and more confidence heading into Tuesday.”

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