Match Report: Shrewsbury Town 1 – 2 Northampton Town

The reintroduction of fans at the Montgomery Waters Meadow was not enough to help prevent defeat against Northampton.

Shrewsbury Town were full of optimism heading into their clash against the Cobblers with fans allowed through the turnstiles for the first time since March.

The 1,000 contingent did their best to drive the team to victory, but despite plenty of endeavour a combination of lackadaisical defending and a goalkeeping error were seized upon by Northampton.

Keith Curle’s side took the lead inside 12 minutes thanks to Mark Marshall’s first goal for the club. Shaun Whalley’s 54th minute equaliser initially galvanised Sam Ricketts’ side, but an error from Matija Sarkic was pounced upon by Sam Hoskins with 25 minutes to go.

Sam Ricketts made one enforced change from the side that drew 0-0 with Portsmouth. Marlon Fossey was handed his senior league debut at the expense of the suspended Aaron Pierre. Ollie Norburn was not in the squad following the tragic loss of his son, whilst Shillow Tracey was not signed in time to feature. Youngsters James Rowland and Louis Lloyd were on the bench.

The home side were dealt a massive blow with less than 30 seconds on the clock. Ethan Ebanks-Landell suffered a sickening collision with Benny Ashley-Seal and his afternoon came to a very premature end. Josh Daniels came on to replace the ex Wolves defender.

The early blow was too much for Town to handle, with Northampton taking the lead in the 12th minute. Sam Hoskins’ cushioned header bamboozled Fossey and allowed former Shrewsbury loanee Joseph Mills to reach the byline. His cross was drilled home by Mark Marshall inside the area.

Shrewsbury responded well to going behind. Rekeil Pyke latched onto a pass delivered by Jason Cummings – ex Salop stopper Steve Arnold closed the gap and thwarted the striker.

Then Scott Golbourne’s cross was flicked goalward by Pyke, but his header wasn’t powerful enough to trouble Steve Arnold.

At the other end, Joseph Mills fizzed an attempt wide as Keith Curle’s side looked to double their advantage.

But Shrewsbury didn’t appear to be fazed by their early setbacks and continued to create chances. Steve Arnold kept Shaun Whalley out, and whilst Josh Daniels couldn’t take advantage of Marlon Fossey’s cross, the ball was only cleared as far as Scott Golbourne whose long-range effort was beaten away by Steve Arnold.

It was a mystery as to why Shrewsbury were not at least level. The last action of the first half saw Jason Cummings’ strike whistle narrowly wide.

Sam Ricketts’ outfit began the second half sharply and Northampton were being pushed back into their own half.

The Blue and Amber army deservedly found the leveller with 54 minutes on the clock. Jason Cummings found Shaun Whalley who breezed beyond ex QPR man Michael Harriman. Steve Arnold got something on Shaun Whalley’s effort, but it was not enough to keep the ball out of the back of the net.

Shrewsbury continued to probe and looked lively, but were punished nine minutes after scoring. Matt Warburton’s overhit pass should have been bread and butter for Matija Sarkic to deal with, but the Montenegrin made a dog’s dinner out of the clearance. Sam Hoskins was on hand to apply a 20-yard finish into an open goal.

The sucker-punch saw the pendulum swing in Northampton’s favour. Sarkic atoned for his earlier error by clawing away Hoskins’ attempt and also prevented Caleb Chukwuemeka from extending the lead.

However, Shrewsbury were not prepared to lie down. Scott High’s deflected effort resulted in a corner which Brad Walker prodded wide.

Josh Daniel is looking for his first goal in English football. The Northern Irishman danced into the box and drove the ball inches wide of the post.

Northampton almost made it 3-1 in bizarre circumstances. Sam Hoskins seemed to be picking out a teammate, but his crossed instead drifted goalward and struck the woodwork.

Shrewsbury deserved something out of the game, but ultimately left the field with nothing, despite Shaun Whalley’s endeavours with his header missing the target.

Town’s next league game is a lengthy trip to Plymouth on Saturday – but they open their EFL Trophy account at home to Newcastle’s U21’s on Tuesday. Northampton face newly relegated Hull in the league next weekend.

Attendance: 1,000

Line Ups:

Shrewsbury Town

31. Sarkic, 18. Fossey (85), 24. Ebanks-Landell (6), 5. Williams, 3. Golbourne, 10. Vela, 25. High, 16. Walker, 35. Cummings, 9. Pyke (69), 7. Whalley

Subs: 1. Burgoyne, 12. Sears, 17. Love (85), 22. Daniels (6), 23. Udoh (69), 26. Rowland, 36. Lloyd

Subs Not Used: 1. Burgoyne, 12. Sears, 26. Rowland, 36. Lloyd

Northampton Town

1. Arnold, 2. Harriman, 5. Bolger, 3. Martin, 45. Marshall (92), 8. Watson, 27. Missilou, 23. Mills, 20. Warburton (86), 7. Hoskins, 22. Ashley-Seal (44)

Subs: 13. Mitchell, 14. Lines (86), 19. Roberts (92), 30. Chukwuemeka (44), 31. Johnston, 32. Dyche, 33. Flanagan

Subs Not Used: 13. Mitchell, 31. Johnston, 32. Dyche, 33. Flanagan

Other League One Results: (at the time of writing)

AFC Wimbledon 4 – 4 Plymouth
Blackpool 2 – 0 Swindon
Bristol Rovers 0 – 2 Ipswich
Burton 2 – 1 Accrington
Charlton 1 – 3 Doncaster
Hull 1 – 0 Crewe
MK Dons 1 – 2 Lincoln
Oxford 0 – 2 Sunderland
Peterborough 2 – 1 Fleetwood
Wigan 2 – 3 Gillingham

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