Shrewsbury 0 Fleetwood 2 – Report
A goal in each half from Wes Burns and former Town lender Kyle Vassell sealed the points for the visitors, who climbed to 15th place, two places above their hosts.
The contest marked the first anniversary of the last time a full fan quota was allowed inside Montgomery Waters Meadow, where over 6,400 fans saw Town lose 3-2 to Oxford United 364 ago days, before the pandemic brought the game to a shaky halt. Things haven’t been the same since.
It was a poor and jaded display from Shrewsbury, who look tired and unconfident after a disappointing week that only netted one point from games against Bristol Rovers, AFC Wimbledon and Fleetwood, who are all around from them in the lower parts of the Ligue 1 Table.
Town’s fatigue might be understandable, but all teams play against the same relentless fixture list. With manager Steve Cotterill monitoring from the hospital, it was perhaps inevitable that the team’s confidence and momentum would suffer at some point.
It is to their credit that after some poor results, Town remains comfortably away from the decline both in terms of places – they remain 17th – and points.
But, the third game in the span of seven days, Shrewsbury failed to start and seemed the shadow of the squad that thrilled spectators just a few weeks ago. The performances had nuances of last week’s lame effort at Bristol Rovers.
Alternate boss Aaron Wilbraham, working in communication with absent Cotterill, opted to change staff and form at half-time from 3-5-2 to four, but Shrewsbury was unable to wrestle against the match again. their favor.
Instead, Salop walked out of a seemingly appealing streak of matches stuttering, tired and seemingly unconfident ahead of a test trip to Rochdale on Tuesday and Charlton next weekend.
It was a contest of few chances but Fleetwood deserved winners. The goals conceded were mediocre and left a lot to be desired as Burns was initially granted half the field to collide and score from a distance before Ged Gardner was given acres of space to squeeze in to Vassell.
So hard work for Salop, who remains on 38 points, still a handful of good results far from the “magic” bar of 50 points, after three games without a win for the second time only since the appointment of Cotterill at the end of November.
Players and city staff emerged to warm up for the game in specially printed black t-shirts, with the message “Get well gaffer soon, of your #blueamber army” in white letters.
The game, the Shrews’ second home game in a week, was the 11th Salop had played without his manager leading forward.
The management team opted for a few changes from the side which succumbed to a late draw against AFC Wimbledon in midweek.
An absentee was called as captain Ollie Norburn missed the injury he suffered against Wimbledon. Town was due to receive the scan results at the end of the week regarding the full extent of his diagnosis.
Tuesday’s star scorer Harry Chapman and top scorer Shaun Whalley joined the squad, while Daniel Udoh was the other man to leave the squad.
Brad Walker returned to the hosts’ bench after more than three months of absence with an ankle injury.
With Shrewsbury going two games without a win, a rare sterile streak under Cotterill and WIlbraham, Simon Grayson’s visitors ended a bad streak with a fantastic 2-1 win over title-seeking Lincoln on Tuesday.
The Cod Army, which replaced Joey Barton with ex-Preston and Sunderland boss Grayson at the end of the year, was unchanged for the trip to Shropshire.
They kicked off a place and two points over the home side in 16th.
Fleetwood generally showed signs of wanting to turn the ball around in the opening rally, but left little marks in the home penalty area early on.
The hosts clicked 10 minutes. A sign of Fleetwood’s willingness to overplay in their own third saw Shrewsbury almost enjoy a hospital pass through the defense, but goalkeeper Alex Cairns was keen to erase, something of a theme from the start .
The shrews showed a glimpse of their class right after, man of the moment Chapman chose a delicious ball crossing with his left foot into the left inner channel to free Nathanael Ogbeta on the left line.
The former Manchester City youngster presented himself as a youngster at the Etihad Stadium by perfecting those low crosses on the six-yard box and reproduced it almost perfectly at the Meadow, his low delivery superbly cut by Cairs with Curtis Main a few inches of pouncing at close range.
The ball ricocheted at Josh Vela at the edge of the box but the midfielder’s half volley was ejected from the target.
It wasn’t the most exciting show of the season as Fleetwood the ball into small triangles with little to shout about in the final third. City leader Main has proven just how effective he is in his own penalty area with a number of dominant heads releasing set pieces.
Former Town loan leader Kyle Vassell, on loan from Rotherham to Fleetwood, proved an early test for Ro-Shaun Williams, edging out the local defender in a few physical battles, while Williams’ cast suffered in several. times.
The visitors tested Matija Sarkic’s concentration for half an hour as forward defender Danny Andrew tested the loaned keeper from a distance, Sarkic equaling the effort of 30 yards with a low save to his left.
David Davis, who was making his second start for the Shrews in a week in Tuesday’s full debut, tried to rally his teammates in what was a lackluster opening. The former Birmingham midfielder has thrown several ears at his colleagues in an attempt to get his team started.
Outside skipper Callum Connolly shot a header on a long throw from James Hill which brought another low save from Sarkic.
The shrews have had their moments despite Fleetwood being in charge of possession. Chapman led a three-on-three breakaway, but his off-foot pass to Main on the right, as opposed to Whalley on the other end, allowed defenders to recover.
Then, four minutes before the break, Salop almost took advantage of another loose pass from the red and white visiting shirts as Hill’s poor ball was picked up by Whalley, but Town’s man struggled to really stretch Cairns.
It looked like the teams would head inside the level after a forgettable first period, but another loose ball from Williams proved the hosts’ loss.
Still, as right-back Burns recovered the ball just in his own half, the Fleetwood mainstay had a lot of work to do to threaten Sarkic’s goal.
But Burns was somehow allowed to venture forward unchallenged most of the way through Shrewsbury’s half before accepting the invitation to shoot 25 yards with a well-hitting effort that fluttered into the bottom corner. left.
Sarkic, injured on the quad, was unable to descend quickly enough to prevent the relentless effort, but the goalkeeper will have been frustrated with his teammates allowing Fleetwood’s man to venture forward and shoot without being contested.
Town needed a change at the break to inject something into their performance and Sean Goss emerged as a second-half change, replacing full-back Daniels, who did little harm in a frustrating first period .
The change brought a form change to the 4-2-3-1 or 4-3-3 form that Salop had played in recent weeks.
The hosts seemed desperate for a change and Goss, playing in an advanced “No 10” role, was busy at first.
Goss came on well and a neat ball with his weaker right foot nearly freed Whalley but Cairns was quick again.
Fleetwood should have had a second as Andrew’s dangerous back post corner seemed to cheat Sarkic and dribbles widely at the back post with an intervention from Williams.
Town had more ball around the hour as the sun made a rare appearance at the Meadow, but danger to the visiting baseline was rare.
Chapman tested Cairns with a low free kick from a left angle, but the keeper did well to maintain control after initially threatening to reverse the effort.
Town presented Walker in an unknown right-back position as the midfielder returned to action.
They had a decent vision of an equalizer midway through the second period as sub Goss unleashed a wide half volley from the edge of the box past Whalley’s cross.
But, a few minutes later, the visitors put the game to bed.
It was another bad goal for Shrewsbury, for the second time with minimal pressure on the Fleetwood player, as Ged Garner had the freedom of the Meadow midfielder to choose a nice ball in disguise in the box where the former Salop striker Vassell kept his cool. for a cool bass finish through Sarkic.
Vassell failed to score in 13 loan games with Town during the 2015/16 season, but has now managed a few goals at Meadow in successive seasons.
Town responded immediately with a triple change introducing punching duo Udoh and Rekeil Pyke, as well as Dave Edwards, but it looked like the damage had been done for a long time.
Young striker Garner’s confidence was shown when he attempted an impudent chip from an almost impossible left angle from the edge of the penalty area.
There wasn’t much to cheer on for Salop an afternoon to forget, to top off a disappointing week.
At just one in nine possible points against Bristol Rovers, AFC Wimbledon and Fleetwood have proven to be a disappointing comeback as Town looks jaded and struggling for confidence, with the gap between Salop, 17th, and the bottom four narrowing slightly to eight points.
Sarkis; Pennington (Walker, 68), Ebanks-Landell ©, Williams; Daniels (Goss 45), Davis (Edwards, 75), Vela, Chapman (Pyke, 75), Ogbeta; Whalley, Main (Udoh, 75).
Unused Submarines: Burgoyne, Sears.
Cairns; Hill, Connolly ©, Andrew; Burns (Holgate, 90), Rossiter, Batty (Finley, 87), Camps, Rydel (Donacien, 79); Vassell (Madden, 79), Garner (Saunders, 79).
Unused Submarines: Coleman, Duffy.
Referee: Michael Salisbury