Good grief, we’re in the second round of a cup competition! Priestley Saddler with an excellent summing up:-
Well, that was closer than it looked like being at half time. That said, we’ll play worse teams than Shrewsbury in our league this season (in fact, in Bournemouth I’d say we already have). They are one of the better sides in League Two, and have already smashed Derby and Swansea in cup matches this season, so we shouldn’t underestimate just how good a result a 2-1 win is.
Nicholls really should have put us infront in the first few minutes but he slipped as he hit it and it just hadn’t got the legs to reach the goal before their defender cleared it.
In any other season, Jarvis goal would have been a shoe-in for Goal Of The Season. However, this time around I’m not entirely convinced it would win Goal Of The Month, as every goal we’ve scored at home this season, including the Taundry one that followed it, has been an absolute corker. You can even add Macken’s friendly goal against Wolves to the list (although being in July it might struggle to win goal of the month ). However, this in itself concerns me. I find it unlikely we’ll continue to smash in 30 yarders at the required rate all season. It would be like a cricket team scoring nothing but sixes and never getting any one and two’s. That said, if the only negative is that we’re scoring too many spectacular goals and not enough ‘normal’ ones then its a strange thing to complain about.
I expected the second half to be a stroll, but there goal gave them a new lease of life, the ball glancing in off Butler’s head leaving Grof with no chance. However, Shrewsbury did seem to be suffering from ‘Walsall Syndrome’, whereby they had a lot of the ball in a lot of dangerous areas for much of the half, but actually created very little, barring one mad goal mouth scramble where Grof made at least two stunning point blank saves (it may have been three) to keep the lead intact.
I know its a clichy we’ve used a lot already this season, but I really think we’d have thrown that match away 12 months ago. If I was a sloppy I’d be gutted to have lost that.
Grof – If I was being harsh on him, I’d argue Wacka would have held the first of his multiple top class stops and thus negated the need to make the rest. However, that would be unfair on him. His increase in confidence from Saturday was clear for all to see. Handled better, distribution was solid and made good saves. Could do nothing with the goal.
Westlake – After Taundry, our most improved player this season. Really is developing into a top full back at this level.
Sadler – I may be in a minority here, but I think he was lucky not to concede at least one penalty for handball in the closing stages. One after the ‘Grof melee’ and one a minute or two after. Apart from that, was solid throughout. Both defends and attacks very well.
Butler – Really unlucky to be credited with the own goal, lead the defensive line well. Keeps us organised at the back although I still don’t think he’s quite playing at the level he was at back end of last season.
Smith – Another really good performance. Lancashire has a fight on his hands to win his place back. Had a difficult night tonight against a big awkward striker but came out on top.
Gnakpa – Has played with a lot more discipline in the last few games and the team benefits from it. He does seem to have gone from beating his man three times to not taking him on at all. Needs to find the happy medium but is doing well. Again failed to finish the match though.
Hurst – I still think he’s stronger on his right foot, but that also has its advantages. The wingers can swap sides and he links up equally well with either Westlake or Sadler.
Chambers – I think to be honest he was the difference between us winning that match and possibly doing what we did at Bramall Lane. He just has the experience and the know how to see out games like that. His presence also meant we had the option of going five across the middle in the closing stages, which we did.
Taundry – Got sponsors MOTM by virtue of Jarvis penalty hitting the bar. Scored an absolute beauty and just keeps getting better. Over the last few games people have started expecting that level of performance from him, and he hasn’t disappointed.
Nicholls – I think he did really well. Should have scored early but fell over meaning his shot didn’t have the legs to reach the goal before the covering defender. When he didn’t have a pass on he just ran with the ball. Was actually very clever to win the penalty. Beat his fullback, cut into the area, slowed down and waited for the contact. I actually saw him win a header too. Linked up well with Jarvis.
Jarvis – His goal was a scorcher and, despite his penalty miss, I would have given him MOTM. I just hope the missed penalty doesn’t affect his confidence too much. Certainly doesn’t deserve to get dropped when both Macken and Grigg are available.
Peterlin – Came on for Gnakpa and played on the right. Helped tighten things up but didn’t really make an impact.
Beevers – Did exactly the same job he did at Bournemouth, came on in the closing stages to shore things up.