Shrewsbury Town doubled their goal count for the season last night as they edged a 4-3 thriller against beleaguered Southend United.
Prior to kick-off Sam Ricketts’ outfit had only notched four goals in the league, which partly contributed to the signings of Jason Cummings and Callum Lang.
Both were on target in last night’s 4-3 spectacle against a Southend United side who are in free fall.
Omar Beckles’ first goal of the season gave Town the lead with 19 minutes on the clock. Jason Cummings, who was not expected to start the contest, netted his first home goal for the club eight minutes later.
Southend quickly reduced the arrears thanks to a header from winger Stephen McLaughlin. Captain Ollie Norburn made it 3-1 and Shrewsbury appeared on course for a routine victory.
However, the Shrimpers hit-back once more, as Stephen Humphrys became the third ex Town man to net against his former club so far this season.
This topsy-turvy game took another twist with seven minutes remaining. Callum Lang effectively put the game to bed, with the Wigan Athletic loanee marking his first game at the Montgomery Waters Meadow with a goal.
Simon Cox ensured a grandstand finish with an injury time goal, but Town managed to hold on for the three points.
Sam Ricketts made two changes from the side that drew 1-1 with AFC Wimbledon. Jason Cummings and Omar Beckles were drafted in at the expense of Daniel Udoh and Aaron Pierre. Dave Edwards returned from an ankle problem to take a place on the bench.
Town wasted little time in stamping their authority on the game. Sean Goss sprayed possession over to Ryan Giles who profited from a failed interception. The Wolves loanee powered forward and saw his effort parried by Mark Oxley.
Moments later, the former Hull City goalkeeper was tested again by Jason Cummings, but the Southend stopper stood up to the challenge.
Shrewsbury’s early dominance was rewarded with the opening goal. Ethan Ebanks-Landell won a 50-50 duel with Brandon Goodship and managed to drill the ball into the danger area. Omar Beckles was on hand to prod home at the near post.
Southend couldn’t get out of their own half, as wave after wave of Shrewsbury attacks showed no signs of abating. This time Ryan Giles’ low drive agonisingly struck the post.
The home side doubled their advantage with 28 minutes on the club. Jason Cummings managed to engineer himself some room, before whipping the ball off the far post and into the back of the net.
Southend’s first attacking foray led to a goal – completely against the run of play. Elvis Bwomono, the visitors’ player of the month for August, floated a delivery into the box. Stephen McLaughlin evaded the attentions of Donald Love with his header looping over Max O’Leary.
In the second half, Mark Oxley, who in fairness had a better game than the score line suggested, was called into action. Sean Goss’ free-kick was stopped by an acrobatic save, whilst Oxley got up quickly to deny Callum Lang.
But Shrewsbury were soon 3-1 to the good after the hour mark. Shaun Whalley’s phenomenal retention of the ball led to him riding several challenges and cutting the ball back for Ollie Norburn. The ex Tranmere midfielder marked his return from injury with a crisp effort that Oxley couldn’t keep out.
It could have been a cricket score had it not been for the intervention of Southend’s keeper. Omar Beckles’ powerful header was clawed away by Mark Oxley.
Southend are looking for a new manager, and have been heavily linked with former Celtic and Manchester United striker Henrik Larsson. The Swede will have an uphill task to plug the gap at the back if he does take the job, but will at least have something to work with in attacking sense.
When Southend moved forward they looked dangerous, and gave themselves a chance with 13 minutes remaining. Shrewsbury couldn’t clear their lines and Stephen Humphrys eventually struck an attempt past O’Leary and into the back of the net.
Shrewsbury appeared to have wrapped up the points with seven minutes remaining. Nathan Ralph inexplicably slipped under pressure from Josh Laurent who handed a chance on a plate to Callum Lang. The Wigan Athletic loanee duly obliged, confidently slotting the ball beyond the stranded Mark Oxley.
Southend were also not finished with the scoring, and made it 4-3 in injury time. Former West Bromwich Albion striker Simon Cox scored the pick of the goals with a rasping 25-yard strike which Max O’Leary had no chance of keeping out.
Ultimately it was not enough to prevent a seventh defeat in eight for Southend who remain in 23rd place. Town rise to 13th.
Shrewsbury travel to Rotherham on Saturday, whilst Southend are away to MK Dons.
Attendance: 4,909 (147 away fans)
Team Line Ups
Shrewsbury Town: (3-5-2)
25. O’Leary, 5. Williams, 24. Ebanks-Landell, 6. Beckles, 17. Love, 28. Laurent, 22. Goss, 8. Norburn (70), 11. Giles, 35. Cummings (57), 9. Lang (84)
Subs: 1. Murphy, 2. Pierre, 4. Edwards (70), 7. Whalley (57), 15. Walker, 20. Morison, 23. Udoh (84)
Subs Not Used: 1. Murphy, 2. Pierre, 15. Walker, 20. Morison
Southend United: (4-2-3-1)
1. Oxley. 2. Bwomono, 15. Kiernan, 26. Lennon, 3. Ralph (71), 18. Mantom, 16. Hamilton (63), 11. McLaughlin, 7. Humphrys, 14. Goodship, 10. Cox
Subs: 4. Hyam (63), 13. Bishop, 17. Ndukwu, 19. Shaughnessy, 24. Demetriou (71), 36. Hutchinson, 39. Blackman
Subs Not Used: 13. Bishop, 17. Ndukwu, 19. Shaughnessy, 36. Hutchinson, 39. Blackman
Other League One Results
Bolton 0 – 0 Oxford
Bristol Rovers 1 – 1 Gillingham
Coventry 2 – 1 AFC Wimbledon
Doncaster 0 – 1 Blackpool
MK Dons 0 – 1 Ipswich
Portsmouth 2 – 2 Burton
Rochdale 1 – 1 Lincoln
Sunderland 1 – 1 Rotherham
Tranmere 2 – 2 Peterborough
Wycombe 1 – 1 Accrington