Shrewsbury Town slip to their third defeat in a week as Ched Evans’ solitary goal gives Fleetwood all three points.
The writing appears to be on the wall for the under-fire Sam Ricketts, as Town fall to their fifth defeat in eight league games.
Shrewsbury went into the trip to Highbury as underdogs, but it is difficult to legislate for an extremely poor first half; which left irate fans fuming on social media.
The visitors’ direct approach was not pleasing on the eye as long balls had little to no effect. Town did improve in the second half, but ultimately it was another performance that will raise question marks regarding Ricketts’ future.
Former Sheffield United striker Ched Evans scored the only goal of the game, as Fleetwood record back to wins.
Sam Ricketts made four changes from the side that lost 2-1 against Rochdale at the weekend. Marc Pugh was handed his second debut, whilst Ethan Ebanks-Landell, Brad Walker, and Ryan Barnett came into the eleven. Jason Cummings was absent through illness – Aaron Pierre, Scott High, and Leon Clarke dropped to the bench. Cameron Gregory was recalled from his loan spell at Hednesford to cover for the injured Dejan Iliev.
There was nothing to shout about in the opening 20 minutes of play, with neither side working the respective goalkeepers. Fleetwood looked slightly more purposeful with crosses into the danger area, but they were well dealt with.
Town’s front three were starved of meaningful service as long balls were easily cut out by the home sides backline.
The Cod Army took the lead in the 25th minute. Former Doncaster Rovers full-back Danny Andrew found Ched Evans who swept home to give Joey Barton’s side the lead.
Shrewsbury are fully aware of the attacking prowess of Paddy Madden as the Irishman has eight career goals against the club. He almost made it a ninth but was denied by a fine Harry Burgoyne stop.
A poor first half ended with Daniel Udoh cutting a lonesome figure up top – the former Crewe striker may wonder why he bothered to make the tip up north.
Fleetwood began the second half in the ascendancy. Midfielder Callum Camps’ strike was clawed to safety by Harry Burgoyne.
The home side continued to threaten. Brad Walker gifted possession and the ball eventually reached Wes Burns. The former Bristol City man found Harry Burgoyne to be an immovable force as the Town keeper continued to keep his side in the game.
Shrewsbury finally showed some attacking intent. Substitute Leon Clarke guided the ball to Captain Ollie Norburn – but his 25-yard attempt was comfortably gathered by the familiar face of Jayson Leutwiler.
Fulham loanee Marlon Fossey prevented Fleetwood doubling their advantage as he headed a Ched Evans volley off the line.
Town’s best spell of the contest arrived toward the end of play. Charlie Daniels’ long throw culminated in a Brad Walker effort which just evaded the target. Ethan Ebanks-Landell caught a shot that deflected wide and Daniel Udoh was prevented from registering just his fourth Shrewsbury goal by an excellent Leutwiler save.
This latest defeat sees Town drop into the bottom four, whilst Fleetwood move up to 10th. Shrewsbury travel to Peterborough on Saturday, whilst Fleetwood welcome Oxford
Team Line Ups
13. Leutwiler, 2. Edwards, 4. Connolly, 14. Mulgrew, 3. Andrew, 15. Coutts, 36. Matete (27), 7. Burns (82), 8. Duffy (61), 17. Madden, 9. Evans
Subs: 6. Whelan (61), 10. Camps (27), 11. Morris (82), 19. McKay, 20. Saunders, 21. Cairns, 32. Holgate
Subs Not Used: 19. McKay, 20. Saunders, 21. Cairns, 32. Holgate
1. Burgoyne, 18. Fossey, 24. Ebanks-Landell, 5. Williams, 15. C. Daniels, 10. Vela, 16. Walker (89), 8. Norburn, 19. Barnett (67), 23. Udoh, 27. Pugh (53)
Subs: 2. Pierre (89), 11. Clarke (53), 13. Zamburek, 20. Tracey, 21. Gregory, 22. J. Daniels (67), 25. High
Subs Not Used: 13. Zamburek, 20. Tracey, 21. Gregory, 25. High
Other League One Results
AFC Wimbledon 1 – 0 Blackpool
Bristol Rovers 1 – 3 Hull
Charlton 2 – 0 Oxford
Crewe 0 – 1 Lincoln
Ipswich 1 – 0 Gillingham
MK Dons 2 – 0 Wigan
Peterborough 2 – 2 Burton
Plymouth 2 – 1 Doncaster
Portsmouth 4 – 0 Northampton
Rochdale 2 – 2 Sunderland