Shrewsbury Town achieve victory at the County Ground for the first time in over 25 years as Harry Chapman’s third goal in five games is enough to take three points.
Their last victory arrived in November 1995 by the same scoreline as Town’s first half performance built the foundation for the three points.
Harry Chapman’s blockbuster of a strike in the 33rd minute proved to be the only goal of the contest. Swindon vastly improved in the second period, but John Sheridan’s side lacked any potency and Shrewsbury ran out clear winners.
There were three Shrewsbury changes from the side that lost 1-0 against Crewe in midweek. Donald Love returned from illness whilst Sean Goss and Curtis Main came into the eleven. Ryan Sears and Dan Udoh dropped to the bench, whilst Aaron Pierre was absent with an unspecified injury.
The Premier League introduced concussion subs this week, allowing managers to make two further alterations in the event of head injuries. The EFL are yet to adopt this approach and its need was highlighted in the very early openings of the game. Ro Shaun-Williams and Ethan Ebanks-Landell clashed with the latter coming off the worse. There was a five-minute delay to proceedings, but both players were cleared to continue.
Swindon fans must wince every time they read the back pages of the Advertiser or tune in to BBC Radio Wiltshire. Off field matters reached national news this week, when an ownership wrangle that brought about court proceedings, resulted in chaos as some who joined the stream hijacked the procession with vulgar language and graphic imagery. To add to the woes, current Chairman Lee Power explained the club’s financial predicament following angry fans questioning the decision to flog Diallang Jaiyesimi to league rivals Charlton.
If that wasn’t enough pain for those of a Robins persuasion, John Sheridan’s squad are ravaged by injuries with key players such as Mathieu Baudry and Jonathan Grounds on the treatment table. However, despite the problems that are engulfing the club, it was the home side that made the brighter start. Matija Sarkic’s woeful clearance eventually saw Jordan Lyden receive possession out wide. The Australian’s dangerous delivery was met by Brett Pitman, but his header went off target.
Despite an early scare, it was Shrewsbury who would dominate the majority of the first period. A sumptuous pass from Josh Vela was inch perfect for Sean Goss, The former QPR midfielder drew a reaction stop from Mark Travers who blocked the effort with his legs.
Shrewsbury’s high-profile pursuit of Will Grigg in January ended with the Northern Irishman reneging on a deal and going to MK Dons. Instead, Town plucked for Curtis Main who arrived from Aberdeen. The 28-year-old had a spell on loan at Town seven years ago, which is probably best remembered for his close-range miss against Wolves. But the South Shields born striker looked lively – Conor Masterson managed to steal a march ahead of Main following Goss’ low cross.
The visitors continued to exert pressure. Shaun Whalley sent Josh Vela clear down the right-hand side. The former Bolton midfielder, who made one Premier League appearance during his time in Greater Manchester, appeared to be attempting to pick-out a teammate – Mark Travers was forced to divert the ball away from goal.
At the other end, Swansea City loanee Jordan Garrick produced a clever flick toward Jordan Lyden. Lyden was in acres of space inside the box and the shot looked the best option, however, he chose to try and pick out a teammate, and Shrewsbury cleared their lines.
Shrewsbury’s positive play was rewarded with a goal in the 33rd minute. A punt up field was expertly controlled by Curtis Main who cushioned the ball to Harry Chapman. The Blackburn loanee’s swerving strike from 25-yards clipped the post and beat Travers all ends up.
Nathanael Ogbeta has settled in well since arriving from Manchester City, but may feel he should have done better during the next passage of play. Harry Chapman’s free-kick was cleared only as far as the youngster, and with both Curtis Main and Ollie Norburn unmarked at the back post a second goal appeared on the cards. However, the cross was overhit much to the relief of Swindon.
The Robins were lacklustre going forward, but may have profited from an error. Matija Sarkic flapped at Matt Palmer’s sweeping free-kick and despite Swindon flirting with the idea of testing the stranded keeper, Town recovered to snuff out the danger.
It was a tentative start to the second half, but Swindon were enjoying more of the ball. Another Palmer free-kick was guided on by Brett Pitman toward the back post. Jack Payne slid in, but his connection was weak and Sarkic dealt with the danger.
Swindon began to cause a few problems of their own. Brett Pitman’s bullet header from Thompson’s delivery didn’t come down in time and instead struck the roof of the net. Town were content in sitting deep and looking to play on the break. Josh Vela broke forward and found Chapman out wide. However, he unusually lacked composure after cutting inside and his final attempt was wayward.
Similarly, the blood rushed to the head of Shaun Whalley at the vital moment. He skimmed ex-Brighton defender Rob Hunt and moved into a promising possession. Whalley appeared caught in two minds as he weighed up what to do next. He opted for a cross which cleared the area.
That was the final opportunity of note as Town bounce back from the Crewe loss with a comfortable win. They welcome Sunderland on Tuesday night, whilst Swindon travel to Portsmouth.
Team Line Ups
1. Travers, 16. Odimayo, 17. Masterson (41), 26. Thompson, 24. Hunt, 18. Payne, 19. Lyden (62), 23. Palmer, 11. Garrick (74), 45. Hope (74), 8. Pitman
Subs: 2. Caddis, 10. Twine (62), 14. Iandolo, 21. Curran (41), 22. Missilou (74), 27. Omotoye (74), 29. Matthews
Subs Not Used: 2. Caddis, 14. Iandolo, 29. Matthews
31. Sarkic, 17. Love, 24. Ebanks-Landell, 5. Williams, 14. Ogbeta, 10. Vela, 6. Goss (73), 8. Norburn, 7. Whalley (87), 20. Main (89), 32. Chapman (73)
Subs: 1. Burgoyne, 3. Golbourne, 4. Edwards (87), 9. Pyke (73), 12. Sears, 23. Udoh (89), 28. Davis (73)
Subs Not Used: 1. Burgoyne, 3. Golbourne, 12. Sears
Other League One Results
Gillingham 0 – 3 Lincoln
Accrington 0 – 0 Northampton
Burton 1 – 0 Hull
Doncaster 3 – 2 Oxford
Fleetwood 0 – 0 Bristol Rovers
Ipswich 2 – 0 Blackpool
MK Dons 2 – 2 Sunderland
Peterborough 2 – 0 Crewe
Portsmouth 2 – 2 Plymouth
Rochdale 0 – 2 Charlton
Wigan 2 – 3 AFC Wimbledon