A superb second half display lays the foundations for a convincing Shrewsbury Town win as they breeze beyond Plymouth.
Shrewsbury stifled Plymouth and put their shooting boots on for the second half – with all three goals arriving after the break.
Shaun Whalley will endeavour to claim the first, however, his strike took a huge deflection off of Will Aimson. But the winger was certainly the scorer of the second, and Nathanael Ogbeta capped off a good performance with the third with ten minutes remaining.
Matthew Pennington, Sean Goss, Dan Udoh, and the aforementioned Shaun Whalley were handed starts. Ro Shaun-Williams was initially scheduled to be on the bench, but a late injury to Aaron Pierre in the warm-up meant the former Manchester United defender kept his place. The contest was officiated by ex-Premier League referee Bobby Madley. The 35-year-old has recently been given clearance to take charge of games in League One and League Two, following a suspension for taking part in an offensive video.
Town took the game to the Devon based side early on. Excellent determination from Dan Udoh saw the Nigerian win the ball high up the pitch and find Nathanael Ogbeta. The youngster glided beyond two opponents and teed up Shaun Whalley. The winger was denied by a Will Aimson deflection. Then, Sean Goss’ free-kick was diverted toward his own goal by Nottingham Forest loanee Tyrese Fornah – Mike Cooper had to scramble across his goal to claw behind.
That passage of play saw the home team win successive corners, one of which eventually found ex-Plymouth midfielder Ollie Norburn. He drilled a low shot fractionally wide of the target. Ryan Lowe’s side offered nothing going forward apart from a low Watts cross that was easily dealt with.
Instead, Shrewsbury continued to force the issue. A brilliant Ogbeta cross was begging to be turned home by a teammate, but there were no advancing runners. Toward the end of the first half, a free-kick was guided on by Dan Udoh. Shaun Whalley tried to make the most of the chance, but he lofted over.
Plymouth needed to rectify their insipid first half display and may have taken the lead early in the second period. Former Town loanee Niall Ennis was slipped through by the tricky Danny Mayor. Ennis’ powerful strike was beaten away by Matija Sarkic.
The rest of the match belonged to Shrewsbury, and the first of three goals arrived in the 51st minute. Dan Udoh turned possession over to Shaun Whalley. He appeared to be shaping up to cross, but instead drove into the box and fired an attempt off of Will Aimson and into the back of the net.
Buoyed by the opener, Town went in search of a second. Ogbeta’s cross found Whalley who subsequently knocked it to Dan Udoh. The striker was thwarted by a heroic block courtesy of Fulham loanee Jerome Opoku. Ogbeta’s goal bound shot struck the offside Shaun Whalley as Town cranked up the pressure.
Sean Goss’ whipped corner struck the crossbar as Plymouth continued to struggle. Nathanael Ogbeta was enjoying another fine afternoon – his run culminated in an effort with the outside of his boot, but it drifted wide. Then, Donald Love’s quick throw-in found Sean Goss, but the ex-QPR man was leaning back, and his attempt cleared the bar.
With 13 minutes to go, Shrewsbury doubled their lead. An awful back pass from Conor Grant was seized upon by Shaun Whalley and he applied the finish beyond the bewildered Mike Cooper. Town wasted little time in making it three. This time Ogbeta found room on the angle of the box, and curled a shot into the bottom right corner.
The home side were in the mood for number four. Shaun Whalley’s corner struck Grant and found it’s way to Curtis Main – his header was blocked on the line by Will Aimson who later sent a free header wide as Plymouth sought a consolation.
A first home clean sheet since the end of January capped off a fine afternoon. Town will look to keep the momentum going when they visit Gillingham on Saturday, Plymouth welcome Hull.
Team Line Ups
31. Sarkic, 17. Love (87), 5. Williams, 29. Pennington, 24. Ebanks-Landell, 14. Ogbeta, 10. Vela, 8. Norburn, 6. Goss (87), 7. Whalley (89), 23. Udoh (78)
Subs: 1. Burgoyne, 4. Edwards (87), 9. Pyke (89), 20. Main (78), 28. Davis (87), 32. Chapman
Subs Not Used: 1. Burgoyne, 32. Chapman
1. Cooper, 8. Edwards, 4. Aimson, 24. Opoku, 2. Watts, 15. Grant, 28. Camara, 18. Fornah, 10. Mayor, 9. Hardie, 21. Ennis
Subs: 14. Reeves (76), 17. Moore (76), 19. Lolos (65), 22. Lewis (76), 23. McCormick, 31. Jephcott (65), 41. Tomlinson
Subs Not Used: 23. McCormick, 41. Tomlinson
Other League One Results
AFC Wimbledon 0 – 1 Fleetwood
Blackpool 4 – 1 Gillingham
Bristol Rovers 2 – 1 Doncaster
Burton 2 – 1 Swindon
Hull 3 – 0 Northampton
MK Dons 0 – 2 Crewe
Oxford 1 – 2 Accrington
Peterborough 1 – 1 Sunderland
Rochdale 0 – 0 Ipswich
Wigan 0 – 1 Portsmouth