Shrewsbury Town extend their fine unbeaten record against Blackpool to 13 matches as Matthew Pennington’s goal clinches victory.
Blackpool were the perfect opponent for Shrewsbury to face following three straight defeats. Not since 1997 had Town experienced defeat against the Tangerines, and a 53rd minute goal helped to keep that fabulous statistic intact.
There were four players on the pitch with Everton connections, however, it was the visitors’ Merseyside representative that came up with the goods. Matthew Pennington’s header threatens to derail Blackpool’s promotion push.
The headline team news was a first senior start for Charlie Caton. The youngster was one of four changes from the side that lost 2-1 against Wigan with Dave Edwards, Harry Chapman, and Curtis Main in from the beginning as well. Dan Udoh, Brad Walker, Shaun Whalley, and Ro-Shaun Williams made way.
Blackpool’s last home defeat arrived in October with Neil Critchely keen to ensure that Bloomfield Road remains a fortress. Shrewsbury were out-thought by a quick corner-kick that reached Luke Garbutt – the left-back’s driven shot was blocked behind by Harry Burgoyne. The resulting corner was nodded down by Jerry Yates toward Dan Ballard in a central position. The Arsenal loanee was tasked with hitting the high notes, but he blazed well over the bar.
At the other end, Curtis Main stole possession in the final third and found Josh Vela. The midfielder advanced into the danger area prior to seeing his effort deflect off Ballard and loop onto the woodwork. Both sides were taking it in turns to find the opening goal. A whipped free-kick was met by Jerry Yates and the ball was in the air for that long that it gathered snow on the way down. When gravity did its stuff, the header landed on top of the net.
If Charlie Caton was nervous on his first start, he was most certainly not showing it. The youngster sprayed possession out to Harry Chapman who undertook a darting run before reaching the byline. His low cross had to be diverted behind by Dan Ballard with Shrewsbury players queuing up to turn home. The resulting set-piece required direct intervention from Chris Maxwell – the former Preston keeper got strong hands to Chapman’s corner.
In the final action of an assured first period for the visitors, quick one touch football eventually saw possession with Sullay Kaikai. The ex-Shrewsbury loanee shot straight at Harry Burgoyne from the edge of the area.
Blackpool began the second half at a frenetic pace. Ellis Simms found himself at an acute angle and tried to cut the ball back – Harry Burgoyne could only palm the cross back into the danger area, but fortunately Matthew Pennington made a crucial intervention to hack clear.
The home side continued to exert pressure. A driven Luke Garbutt cross was diverted off target by Jerry Yates. Moments later Gabriel’s clipped pass found Yates who had ghosted behind Ethan Ebanks-Landell, but the ex-Rotherham man could only smash his shot into the side netting.
Blackpool were punished for not taking their opportunities as Shrewsbury landed a killer blow. Harry Chapman’s accurate corner was met by Matthew Pennington and Chris Maxwell could do nothing to keep the header out.
The Tangerines’ response was rather lethargic, however, Harry Burgoyne had to be alert to push away Sullay Kaikai’s curling attempt. Neil Critchley’s side thought they had located the equaliser, but the linesman’s flagged came to Town’s rescue. Ethan Robson’s half-volley was blocked by the legs of Burgoyne and the rebound was converted by Yates who had strayed offside in the process.
Shrewsbury’s defensive shape was excellent, and they understandably had no desire to double their lead. But Dave Edwards will have felt he should have tested Chris Maxwell. The veteran was in acres of space but his header from an Ogbeta free-kick cleared the crossbar.
The rest of the game passed without incident as Town held on to claim an unlikely three points. The visitors move up to 16th, whilst Blackpool drop to 6th. Shrewsbury welcome Lincoln on Tuesday evening, whilst Blackpool visit Sunderland.
- Maxwell, 2. Gabriel (69), 4. Thorniley, 26. Ballard, 29. Garbutt, 32. Embleton (70), 12. Dougall (81), 18. Ward, 10. Kaikai, 19. Simms (63), 9. Yates
Subs: 3.Husband, 6. Robson (70), 15. Mitchell (63), 20. Turton (69), 21. Ekpiteta, 28. Moore, 38. Holmes (81)
Subs Not Used: 3. Husband, 21. Ekpiteta, 28. Moore,
- Burgoyne, 28. Davis, 24. Ebanks-Landell, 29. Pennington, 14. Ogbeta, 10. Vela, 8. Norburn, 4. Edwards, 32. Chapman (85), 30. Caton (61), 20. Main
Subs: 5. Williams, 7. Whalley (61), 12. Sears, 16. Walker, 17. Love (85), 39. Bloxham, 41. Bevan
Subs Not Used: 5. Williams, 12. Sears, 16. Walker, 39. Bloxham, 41. Bevan
Other League One Results
Charlton 0 – 1 Peterborough
Crewe 1 – 1 Rochdale
Doncaster 0 – 1 Fleetwood
Gillingham 2 – 2 Northampton
Ipswich 0 – 0 AFC Wimbledon
Lincoln 1 – 2 Hull
MK Dons 5 – 0 Swindon
Oxford 3 – 1 Plymouth
Portsmouth 1 – 0 Bristol Rovers
Sunderland 3 – 3 Accrington
Wigan 1 – 1 Burton