Shrewsbury Town’s dreadful run of league form shows no signs of abating as they are thrashed by promotion hopefuls Peterborough United.
The saga has taken a turn for the worse as Sam Ricketts’ side are given a hiding at London Road.
A horror show on Halloween means that Shrewsbury are third from bottom in League One after their fourth consecutive defeat.
Former Coventry City striker Jonson Clarke-Harris put Peterborough ahead in the 16th minute.
However, Town equalised through Josh Daniels moments later – the Northern Irishman scored his first goal on his first start for the club.
But Ivorian born Siriki Dembele restored the lead for Posh in the 42nd minute. Josh Vela’s horrendous challenge reduced Shrewsbury to ten men before half time and this is where it really started to fall apart.
Dembele added a further two in the second period, whilst Paul Taylor completed the rout as the game drew to a close.
Sam Ricketts made three alterations from the side that slipped to defeat against Fleetwood in midweek. Marlon Fossey, Brad Walker, and Ryan Barnett, made way for Ethan Ebanks-Landell, Scott High, and the aforementioned Josh Daniels.
Salop were marginally the better team in the opening exchanges – Charlie Daniels whipped the ball comfortably into the arms of Christy Pym.
At the other end, Clarke-Harris sent Sammie Szmodics through on goal. The ex Colchester midfielder was denied by a last-ditch challenge.
Town looked to get a foothold and Charlie Daniels continued to produce fine deliveries. This time Ethan Ebanks-Landell looked to profit, but Frankie Kent managed to scramble back and clear off the line.
Another attacking adventure from Shrewsbury saw Dan Udoh’s cross into the box cleared behind by Huddersfield loanee Reece Brown.
The first of five Peterborough goals arrived from the spot. Frankie Kent’s raking pass was collected by Dembele who was caught by Harry Burgoyne. Jonson Clarke-Harris dispatched from the spot – netting his sixth goal of the campaign in the process.
Yet Posh were not in front for long. Marc Pugh found Josh Daniels completely unmarked at the far post and the winger had the simplest of tasks to nod home.
The visitors seemed buoyed by the equaliser and were enjoying positive spells of pressure without carving out any clear-cut opportunities.
The dangerman for Peterborough was clearly Siriki Dembele. Joe Ward switched possession to the winger, but his final effort was blazed over Burgoyne’s crossbar.
Shrewsbury stayed in the game and created chances of their own. The ball bounced fortuitously for Scott High, but his shot just cleared the bar.
Peterborough’s attacking threat was causing untold problems for Shrewsbury; and it was that man Dembele who nudged his side ahead three minutes before the break. Sammie Szmodics’ ball over the top bamboozled the Town defence and was collected by Dembele. He jinked beyond Ebanks-Landell and Williams before firing an attempt low into the bottom corner.
Shrewsbury had a mountain to climb when Josh Vela inexplicably clattered studs up into Dembele and the referee had no option but to produce a straight red card.
The home side unsurprisingly lay siege to the Town goal in the opening period of the first half. Dembele turned provider to find Sammie Szmodics but the midfielder didn’t trouble Harry Burgoyne.
Despite being down to ten men, the next opportunity fell to Shrewsbury. Josh Daniels, the only player that can come out of this result with any real credit, struck wide. There was an awkward moment for Christy Pym who just about caught the ball but also collided with the crossbar at the same time.
Charlie Daniels and Josh Daniels both sent efforts wide as Town tried to rally, but the afternoon very much belonged to Peterborough.
Joe Ward was sent free down the right by the impressive Szmodics. The former Brighton man rolled the ball toward Dembele who gleefully converted from close range.
Szmodics was dominating in the middle of the park and he was also a threat going forward. His final shot on this occasion let Shrewsbury off the hook.
But the home side added a fourth and Dembele completed his hattrick. The ex Grimsby winger was put through by Dan Butler before rounding Burgoyne and applying the finish into an open goal.
The rout was completed two minutes from time. Mo Eisa, the brother of ex Town man Abo, worked it well and found Jack Taylor. His hit from 20 yards completed a miserable afternoon for Town.
Sam Ricketts’ future at the club looks bleak, but he will hope to be in charge for the midweek clash against Burton Albion. Peterborough are away to Bristol Rovers.
Team Line Ups
1. Pym, 6. Kent, 5. Beevers, 24. Mason, 23. Ward (82), 12. Brown (53), 8. Taylor, 3. Butler, 15. Szmodics, 9. Clarke-Harris (74), 10. Dembele
Subs: 7. Eisa (74), 11. Broom, 13. Gyollai, 14. Reed (53), 18. Blake-Tracy, 19. Kanu (82), 22. Hamilton
Subs Not Used: 11. Broom, 13. Gyollai, 18. Blake-Tracey, 22. Hamilton
1. Burgoyne, 5. Williams, 24. Ebanks-Landell, 2. Pierre, 15. C. Daniels, 10. Vela, 25. High, 8. Norburn, 22. J. Daniels, 23. Udoh (81), 27. Pugh (45)
Subs: 13. Zamburek, 16. Walker, 18. Fossey, 19. Barnett, 20. Tracey (81), 21. Gregory, 35. Cummings (45)
Subs Not Used: 13. Zamburek, 16. Walker, 18. Fossey, 19. Barnett, 21. Gregory
Other League One Results
Burton 1 – 2 Blackpool
Doncaster 1 – 0 Lincoln
Fleetwood 2 – 0 Oxford
Gillingham 0 – 2 Sunderland
Ipswich 1 – 0 Crewe
MK Dons 1 – 1 AFC Wimbledon
Portsmouth 0 – 2 Charlton
Rochdale 1 – 1 Bristol Rovers
Swindon 2 – 1 Hull
Wigan 2 – 3 Northampton