Match Report: Rochdale 2 – 1 Shrewsbury Town

Shrewsbury Town’s woeful record at Spotland continues as they suffer a disappointing defeat at the hands of Rochdale.

18 years ago, Shrewsbury thrashed Rochdale 7-1. It is a far cry from those days, as Town are winless in their last 11 away fixtures against the Greater Manchester outfit.

But this latest loss, will perhaps sting the most. Prior to kick-off beleaguered Rochdale were on a terrible run of form which had seen them lose four of their last five games.

To make matters worse, they had conceded nine goals in two games against relegation threatened sides AFC Wimbledon and Plymouth Argyle.

A series of poor results led to the hierarchy sacking club stalwart Keith Hill and putting first team coach Brian Barry-Murphy in temporary charge.

The 40-year-old has been at the club since 2010; and is still on the playing staff. His argument to secure the job full-time was enhanced as Rochdale sealed an important win against their relegation rivals.

Kgosi Ntlhe gave the home side the lead inside 15 minutes, and centre-half Jim McNulty doubled their lead after the break.

Rangers loanee Greg Docherty pulled a goal back for the visitors, but Shrewsbury tasted defeat for the first time in five matches.

Sam Ricketts made four changes from the team that drew 0-0 against AFC Wimbledon. Scott Golbourne, James Bolton, Josh Laurent, and Aaron Amadi-Holloway, were replaced by Ryan Haynes, Omar Beckles, Greg Docherty, and Fejiri Okenabirhie.

Town acclimatised well to the early stages of the contest. Both Greg Docherty and Ollie Norburn tried to catch former Wolves and Leeds stopper Andy Lonergan unawares, but their efforts drifted harmlessly past the target.

At the other end, Ethan Ebanks-Landell spread possession towards Ian Henderson. The former Norwich City forward cushioned a header into the path of Kgosi Ntlhe, whose fierce attempt was tipped over by Steve Arnold.

Shrewsbury didn’t pay heed to Ntlhe’s attacking prowess as he registered the game’s first goal from the resulting corner. Former Crewe midfielder Brad Inman saw his set-piece cleared only as far as Kgosi Ntlhe; the South African drilled a half volley beyond the fingertips of Steve Arnold.

Sam Ricketts prowled the technical area searching for a response and Fejiri Okenabirhie almost obliged. Stoke City loanee Tyrese Campbell fired a cross towards Okenabirhie, but the ex Dagenham man couldn’t quite hook the ball beyond Lonergan.

Town continued to press in search of an equaliser. This time Okenabirhie provided for Campbell but the youngster was unable to make a telling connection.

Shrewsbury were almost the architects of their own downfall when they gave away a cheap free-kick. Callum Camps’ swerving strike was fortunately beaten away by Arnold; and Ian Henderson was unable to turn the rebound home from six yards out.

The visitors finished the half with a flurry of chances. Shaun Whalley’s free-kick was guided behind by Andy Lonergan, and the Middlesbrough loanee had to be alert to deny Luke Waterfall.

Despite finishing the half strongly, Shrewsbury found themselves 2-0 down just two minutes after the interval. Kgosi Ntlhe was left frustrated by Steve Arnold, but Jim McNulty came on the scene to double his side’s advantage.

Omar Beckles tried to reduce the arrears, but his powerful header was clawed to safety by Andy Lonergan.

The veteran goalkeeper was rolling back the years with a series of fine stops, Aaron Amadi-Holloway and Tyrese Campbell were the next to find the stopper in top form.

Lonergan’s resistance was finally broken in added time. Rangers loanee Greg Docherty struck home after collecting Aaron Amadi-Holloway’s pass.

The defeat sees Shrewsbury drop to 20th whilst Rochdale find themselves in 22nd place. Town made the long journey to Plymouth on Tuesday night, whilst Rochdale welcome Oxford.

Attendance: 3,217 (525 Town fans)

Team Line Ups:

Rochdale: (3-5-2)
24. Lonergan, 6. Ebanks-Landell, 4. McNulty, 3. Ntlhe, 2. McLaughlin, 10. Camps, 8. Williams, 14. Rathbone (74), 39. Bunney, 19. Inman (82), 40. Henderson (89)

Subs: 1. Dooley (74), 9. Andrew (82), 11. Williams, 16. Done, 25. Adshead, 26. Clough (89), 31. Wade

Subs Not Used: 1. Williams, 16. Done, 25. Adshead, 31. Wade

Shrewsbury Town: (3-4-1-2)
1. Arnold, 2. Williams, 22. Waterfall, 6. Beckles, 7. Whalley, 29. Norburn, 4. Edwards, 8. Docherty, 3. Haynes, 12. Okenabirhie, 11. Campbell

Subs: 1. Sadler, 20. Holloway (59), 23. Golbourne, 27. Sears, 28. Laurent (70), 30. Charles-Cook, 50. Payne (71)

Subs Not Used: 1. Sadler, 23. Golbourne, 27. Sears, 30. Charles-Cook

Other League One Results:

AFC Wimbledon 2 – 0 Doncaster
Barnsley 2 – 0 Accrington
Blackpool 2 – 2 Southend
Bradford 3 – 1 Peterborough
Gillingham 1 – 0 Oxford
Plymouth 0 – 0 Luton
Scunthorpe 0 – 1 Bristol Rovers
Walsall 2 – 0 Fleetwood
Wycombe 1 – 1 Sunderland

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Ryan Hillback
Ryan Hillback keeps us updated on match previews and reports as well as all the big Shrewsbury Town Football Club news.

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