Shrewsbury Town suffer their third consecutive defeat as Wigan Athletic take all three points at the Montgomery Waters Meadow.
Leam Richardson’s side effectively wrapped up the win during the first 45 minutes. Striker Will Keane gave the visitors a 27th minute lead.
Shrewsbury posses a terrible unfortunate habit of conceding against players that used to don the blue and amber shirt – Saturday it was Fejiri Okenabirhie, and Tuesday it was Callum Lang. The former loanee doubled Wigan’s lead just before half time.
The home side did rally in the second period and pulled one back through Ollie Norburn – but Wigan held on to ease relegation fears.
Town were dealt a selection blow with news that Matija Sarkic was missing through a slight quad issue. Brad Walker was reinstated in the starting line-up and youngsters Bevan and Caton took places on the bench.
The visitors started the contest at a blistering pace. A long throw-in was too much for Ethan Ebanks-Landell to handle as his skewed header set alarm bells ringing. Harry Burgoyne fumbled, and Will Keane picked up the pieces – the former Manchester United striker diverted the ball goalward, but the retreating Brad Walker bailed out his flustered teammates.
Both sides traded early blows as each took it in turns to try and break the deadlock. Matthew Pennington did superbly to dig out a cross which made its way to Nathanael Ogbeta. The impressive youngster connected sweetly and drilled a volley agonisingly wide of the left-hand post.
The visitors had an emphasis on attack with four forwards on display. One of them in the shape of Joe Dodoo looked to profit from fortunate bounces of the ball – he tried to bamboozle Harry Burgoyne from a tight angle, but the stopper reacted well to deal with the danger.
It was Shrewsbury’s turn to spurn a glorious opportunity. Former AFC Telford defender Curtis Tilt was caught out by lackadaisical defending as Dan Udoh stole possession high up the pitch. The Nigerian only had the keeper to beat but his strike, albeit powerful, was straight at Jamie Jones who was able to block behind. Then, Brad Walker channelled his inner Cristiano Ronaldo with a ‘knuckleball’ style free-kick, his radar was only slightly askew much to the relief of the Wigan bench.
Whilst Town enjoyed a decent amount of pressure, Wigan looked the most threatening. Another throw-in was flicked on at the near post and appeared to be heading for the top corner – but a crucial intervention kept the scores level. However, in the 27th minute, Wigan nudged themselves ahead. Lee Evans’ accurate corner was attacked by Will Keane and found its way beyond the stranded Harry Burgoyne.
Wigan continued to up the ante. Soloman-Otobor’s cross found Lee Evans whose volley was heroically blocked by Ethan Ebanks-Landell. A Town corner briefly seemed to spell danger, but instead Wigan broke at pace and doubled their lead. An arching Will Keane through-ball was seized upon by Callum Lang. The former four league goal Town man raced clear and kept his composure to slide the ball beyond Burgoyne.
The Shrewsbury bench reacted at the break with a triple change to attempt to spark life into the performance. One of the introductions Dave Edwards nodded an early corner wide of the target. Shrewsbury were much better in the second half with Shaun Whalley chief orchestrator. His charging and enterprising run culminated in a low drive which was tipped behind by ex-Preston keeper Jamie Jones.
With 34 minutes left on the clock, Shrewsbury clawed themselves back into the game. A Harry Chapman corner was cleared only as far as Ollie Norburn. The Town captain reacted with an emphatic volley that flew into the roof of the net via a heavy Wigan deflection.
Wigan were extremely quiet in the second half – they did have half-hearted calls for a penalty turned down, Joe Dodoo led the appeals, but despite the ball striking Matthew Pennington’s arm, he was far too close to the action to be penalised.
As the game drew to a close, Shrewsbury had two brilliant opportunities to rescue a point. Firstly, a superb cross-field pass was guided across the danger area by Harry Chapman. Curtis Main slid in at the back post but could only find the woodwork from close range. Youngster Charlie Caton was featuring in just his second senior appearance and almost capped it off with a fairy tale goal. He was as free as a bird inside the box and connected to Ollie Norburn’s sweeping delivery – Jamie Jones got down well to parry the header behind.
Despite the grandstand finish, defensive errors ultimately cost Town in this one. They visit Blackpool on Saturday, whilst Wigan host Burton.
Team Line Ups
1. Burgoyne, 29. Pennington, 5. Williams (45), 16. Walker (45), 24. Ebanks-Landell, 14. Ogbeta, 10 Vela, 28. Davis, 8. Norburn, 7. Whalley (93), 23. Udoh (45)
Subs: 4. Edwards (45), 12. Sears, 17. Love, 20. Main (45), 30. Caton (93), 32. Chapman (45), 41. Bevan
Subs Not Used: 12. Sears, 17. Love, 41. Bevan
1. Jones, 2. Darikwa, 4. Tilt, 5. Johnston, 34. Robinson, 12. Ojo, 8. L. Evans, 9. Lang, 10. Keane (93), 17. Solomon-Otabor (84), 20. Dodoo
Subs: 6. Whelan, 7. Clough, 15. Gardner (84), 16. Proctor, 22. Joseph, 25. O. Evans, 30. Aasgaard (93)
Subs Not Used: 6. Whelan, 7. Clough, 16. Proctor, 22. Joseph, 25. O. Evans