Shrewsbury Town end their miserable away league form in some style as three second half goals seal a comfortable victory.
Prior to kick-off Shrewsbury’s only away success this season had arrived in the FA Cup against lower league opposition – Stratford and Carlisle respectively.
And perhaps the visiting supporters would not fancy their chances at Highbury – Shrewsbury had only won one of their previous eight trips.
But a second half demolition job ended the unwanted streak. Ryan Bowman gave Town the lead in the 49th minute and Josh Vela doubled the advantage with 72 minutes on the clock. Dan Udoh continued his rich vein of form to cap off a wonderful afternoon with the third goal 10 minutes from time.
Steve Cotterill was able to welcome back Ethan Ebanks-Landell who had been absent in recent weeks with a hamstring problem. Tom Bloxham began his suspension whilst Josh Daniels was dropped to the bench. Aaron Pierre was absent after testing positive for COVID-19.
The Cod Army recently appointed former Leeds and Scotland left-back Stephen Crainey on a permanent basis after the departure of Simon Grayson. He will have welcomed his sides bright start. A free-kick was sent into the danger area and centre-half Tom Clarke’s mis-hit shot appeared to fall kindly for Gerard Garner, but he couldn’t sort his feet out. Moments later, Harrison Biggins produced a bulldozing run and played Garner through. The 23-year-old drove his strike inches beyond Marko Marosi’s post.
At the other end, Ryan Bowman latched onto a long-punt up field and the striker attempted to bamboozle Alex Cairns with a delicate chip – the former Rotherham keeper stood up to the task. Nathanael Ogbeta fizzed in a number of crosses which were all narrowly missed by his teammates as the visitors looked to crank up the pressure.
Town started the second half at full pace. Nathanael Ogbeta volleyed agonisingly wide with Alex Cairns firmly rooted to the spot. However, the Fleetwood keeper was soon forced to pick the ball up out of his net. Luke Leahy played an accurate ball through to Nathanael Ogbeta who slid a pass into the danger area. Ryan Bowman could not miss as he poked home with Alex Cairns in no man’s land.
Fleetwood’s response was virtually non-existent. Ex Burnley midfielder Chris Conn-Clarke plucked the ball out from the air and moved forward. The Northern Irishman’s shot was comfortably gathered by Marko Marosi. Cian Hayes attempted to locate the leveller, but his strike was blocked behind for a corner, whilst Harrison Biggins’ effort from roughly 20-yards was straight at Marosi.
With 72 minutes on the clock, Shrewsbury doubled their lead. Dan Udoh rode several challenges prior to picking out Josh Vela – the ex-Hibernian midfielder guided an attempt into the bottom corner to effectively wrap up the points.
There was still time for Dan Udoh to add his name to the scoresheet once more. The Nigerian received possession from Josh Vela and his ferocious strike thumped the woodwork prior to finding the back of the net.
Town will be hoping to achieve three wins on the bounce when they welcome Accrington on Wednesday night – Fleetwood visit Wigan.
Team Line Ups
1. Cairns, 38. Johnston, 5. Clarke, 4. McLaughlin, 3. Andrew, 32. Lane, 10. Camps (60), 20. Matete, 27. Biggins, 41. Hayes (77), 19. Garner (36)
Subs: 13. Crellin, 22. Morris (60), 26. Johnson (77), 28. Clark, 34. Conn-Clarke (36), 37. Boyle, 39. McMillan
Subs Not Used: 13. Crellin, 28. Clark, 37. Boyle, 39. McMillan
1. Marosi, 5. Pennington, 4. Ebanks-Landell, 23. Nurse, 17. Bennett, 10. Vela, 16. Davis, 3. Leahy, 14. Ogbeta (91), 12. Bowman (86), 11. Udoh (86)
Subs: 9. Cosgrove (86), 13. Burgoyne, 15. Pyke (86), 19. Caton, 22. Daniels (91), 24. Leshabela, 27. Craig
Subs Not Used: 13. Burgoyne, 19. Caton, 24. Leshabela, 27. Craig
Other League One Results
Accrington 1 – 0 Rotherham
Cheltenham 0 – 2 Plymouth
Lincoln 2 – 3 MK Dons