Shrewsbury Town are now winless in ten as they succumb to a 2-0 defeat against Portsmouth at Fratton Park.
It was expected to be slim pickings for Shrewsbury Town and so it proved to be against a Portsmouth side who are unbeaten at home in all competitions.
Kenny Jackett’s side are mounting a promotion push, whilst Shrewsbury are meandering to a bottom half finish.
Whilst Town’s endeavour was to be applauded, Pompey’s double salvo in the second period wrapped up the win.
The under-pressure Sam Ricketts made five changes from the side that lost 2-0 against Accrington on Tuesday night. Max O’Leary was reinstated with Joe Murphy out through injury. Scott Golbourne, Donald Love, Jason Cummings, and Callum Lang dropped out. Sean Goss, Dan Udoh, Aaron Pierre, and Sam Hart were given a chance to impress.
Storm Dennis threatened to stifle the creativity on the park, as both sides were keen not to make early errors.
Former Shrewsbury Town defender James Bolton floated an early delivery into the box, but it was harmless enough. Then Marcus Harness managed to divert an effort goalward which was well kept out by Max O’Leary.
The home side were in the ascendancy. Tom Naylor’s ambitious long ranger flew over the crossbar.
At the other end, Shrewsbury were not able to create clear cut opportunities. Sean Goss’ whipped free-kick was slightly too high for the advancing Town defenders.
The visitors were forcing the issue somewhat. The lively Conor McAleny breezed past Tom Naylor and saw his attempt blocked. Portsmouth eventually managed to smuggle behind for a corner which came to nothing.
Ro Shaun Williams was forced into evasive action to prevent Ronan Curtis bore down on goal. The defender clattered the Irishman on the halfway line and received a booking for his troubles.
On the half hour mark, Kenny Jackett’s outfit missed a golden chance to break the deadlock. Marcus Harness’ low cross was swept over from six yards out by former Ipswich striker Ellis Harrison.
Portsmouth’s keeper Alex Bass was forced to parry Conor McAleny’s well struck effort to safety.
The home side had the final opportunity of the first half. Steve Seddon worked the ball well and whistled a shot fractionally over the bar.
Shrewsbury began the second half on the front foot. Sean Goss found himself on the edge of the box, and his angled effort hit the side netting.
Town were causing their opponents issues. Substitute Kayne Ramsay galloped down the flank and his low cross was turned behind for a corner, which the visitors were unable to profit from.
All the early second half pressure was being caused by Shrewsbury. Conor McAleny’s firmly hit half volley was palmed away by Alex Bass. The 21-year-old ex-Torquay loanee is keeping former Shrewsbury keeper Craig MacGillivray out of the Portsmouth starting eleven. And Bass was called into action again to keep out Dave Edwards’ low strike.
Another big chance was gone as quickly as it arrived. Omar Beckles’ cut back found Ethan Ebanks-Landell inside the box, but the defender lacked composure at the vital moment.
Invariably, in the 64th minute Town were punished for their failure to convert. Rory McCrorie, a summer target for Shrewsbury, produced a brilliant cross which was nodded home by Ellis Harrison.
Minutes later, Portsmouth were denied a second. John Marquis was through on goal but was thwarted by O’Leary.
But the former Millwall man did eventually seal the win with eight minutes of normal time remaining. Marcus Harness fed Marquis who calmly slotted the ball into the back of the net.
A much-improved performance from Shrewsbury Town, but they still await their first league victory of 2020. Shrewsbury welcome Doncaster next Saturday, whilst Portsmouth contest the semi-final of the EFL Trophy in the week. Exeter are their opponents.
Attendance: 18,211 (319 Town fans)
Team Line Ups
35. Bass, 13. Bolton (58), 6. Burgess, 20. Raggett, 42. Seddon, 4. Naylor, 24. McGeehan, 19. Harness, 26. Evans (58), 11. Curtis (89), 22. Harrison
Subs: 1. MacGillivray, 3. Brown, 7. Williams (89), 10. Marquis (58), 15. McCrorie (58), 16. Whatmough, 33. Close
Subs Not Used: 1. MacGillivray, 3. Brown, 16. Whatmough, 33. Close
Shrewsbury Town: (3-5-1-1)
25. O’Leary, 5. Williams, 24. Ebanks-Landell, 2. Pierre, 6. Beckles, 28. Laurent, 22. Goss, 4. Edwards, 42. Hart (45), 18. McAleny (67), 23. Udoh (67)
Subs: 3. Golbourne, 9. Lang (67), 12. Sears, 17. Love, 21. Ramsay (45), 35. Cummings (67), 43. Burgoyne
Subs Not Used: 3. Golbourne, 12. Sears, 17. Love, 43. Burgoyne
Other League One Results
Accrington 4 – 3 Lincoln
Bolton 0 – 2 Wycombe
Bristol Rovers 2 – 1 Blackpool
Fleetwood 2 – 1 Peterborough
Gillingham 2 – 1 Doncaster
Ipswich 4 – 1 Burton
Oxford 0 – 1 Sunderland
Rochdale P – P Tranmere (waterlogged pitch)
Rotherham 2 – 2 AFC Wimbledon
Southend 0 – 2 Coventry