Shrewsbury Town slip to their ninth home league defeat of the season as they are unable to build upon their impressive victory against Blackpool.
Shrewsbury Town could have been on a real hiding to nothing if Lincoln had taken their early opportunities. The visitors were rampant, and it seemed inevitable they would build on Jorge Grant’s 11th minute goal.
However, a change in system and formation brought some structure back into Town’s approach, and they managed to pose a threat mainly through the chief orchestrator Josh Vela. It ultimately proved to be fruitless with Lincoln cementing their place in the play-off positions.
Town made three changes from the weekend win. Donald Love, Brad Walker, and Shaun Whalley were drafted in at the expense of Dave Edwards, Harry Chapman, and Charlie Caton. There was a special moment for Tom Bloxham whose cameo role introduced the striker to senior football for the first time.
Lincoln’s last dalliance with the second tier of English football ended with them finishing bottom of the Division Two table in 1961. Michael Appleton is tasked with leading Lincoln to their highest position in the pyramid for 60 years. And the current crop of players were clearly answering the call. Callum Morton and Brennen Johnson linked up well prior to the latter forcing Harry Burgoyne into an acrobatic stop from distance.
However, the former Wolves keeper was not able to prevent the Imps taking the lead with 11 minutes on the clock. Town struggled to clear their lines and Scottish international Liam Bridcutt whipped a delightful cross toward the back post – Jorge Grant’s simple header was the 26-year-olds 16th goal of the season.
Shrewsbury were struggling to contain a free-flowing Lincoln side. Manchester City loanee Morgan Rogers produced a marauding run with David Davis unsuccessful in stopping the youngster. He let fly from distance and the effort took a deflection before whistling past the post. Then, a Jorge Grant free-kick was poorly dealt with by Town and the ball fell kindly for Timothy Eyoma who could only hook a shot over the bar from close range.
Shrewsbury’s first attacking foray almost resulted in a shock equaliser. Josh Vela’s advancing run into the box was spotted by Curtis Main whose drilled cross reached his teammate. The ex-Hibernian man made the required contact but Tayo Edun’s intervention sent the ball onto the woodwork.
A change in system saw Town revert to a back-three with Brad Walker moving into a central defensive position. The alteration appeared to spark the home side into life, and they should have gone it at half-time level. A clever back heel from Shaun Whalley was collected by Josh Vela who subsequently put Regan Poole on his backside. Vela only had the goalkeeper to beat but somehow fired beyond the target.
Lincoln were looking to kick-off the second period in the same manner they did the first. A mazy Anthony Scully run culminated in a cross which Matthew Pennington sliced over the bar – the intervention was necessary with Tom Hopper ready to pounce.
Shrewsbury were presented with an opportunity to level the scores from roughly 20 yards. Nathanael Ogbeta is developing a reputation as a free-kick specialist – his latest attempt arrowed agonisingly wide of Alex Palmer’s goal. Town were settling into the contest and posing more of a challenge for their opponents. Josh Vela’s magnificent sliding tackle allowed Town to reclaim possession – Ogbeta’s cross was aimed for Curtis Main at the near post, but the striker was unable to test Alex Palmer.
Lincoln were not as flamboyant as they were in the first half, however, they still had chances to make the scoreline more comfortable. Morgan Rogers’ pullback would have given Callum Morton an easy finish, but Ethan Ebanks-Landell was alert to smuggle behind. Anthony Scully threaded a through ball to Tom Hopper who saw the whites of Harry Burgoyne’s eyes. The Town keeper stood up well to the task to deny the former Leicester man.
In the final action of the contest, Harry Chapman had time and space on the edge of the area, but his low strike was gathered by Palmer.
The victory sees Lincoln rise to 3rd, whilst Shrewsbury drop to 17th. Shrewsbury face Oxford on Saturday, whilst Lincoln go to Peterborough.
Team Line Ups
1. Burgoyne, 17. Love, 29. Pennington, 24. Ebanks-Landell, 14. Ogbeta, 16. Walker, 28. Davis, 10. Vela, 8. Norburn (78), 7. Whalley (77), 20. Main (78)
Subs: 4. Edwards (78), 5. Williams, 12. Sears, 30. Caton, 32. Chapman (77), 39. Bloxham (78), 41. Bevan
Subs Not Used: 5. Williams, 12. Sears, 30. Caton, 41. Bevan
1. Palmer, 2. Poole, 22. Eyoma, 4. Montsma, 7. Edun, 23. Bridcutt (45), 18. McGrandles, 10. Grant, 27. Rogers, 20. Johnson (33), 19. Morton (82)
Subs: 6. Sanders, 8. Jones, 9. Hopper (45), 11. Scully (33), 15. Bramall, 26. Anderson (82), 31. Long
Subs Not Used: 6. Sanders, 8. Jones, 15. Bramall, 31. Long
Other League One Results
At the time of writing:
Accrington 3 – 3 Portsmouth
AFC Wimbledon 3 – 3 Rochdale
Burton 5 – 2 Fleetwood
Charlton 2 – 2 Crewe
Sunderland 0 – 1 Blackpool