Exciting News

We’ll travel back a few months to mid July. Nikki was complaining about feeling ill and run down, despite resting up for a few days she still wasn’t feeling right. A couple more days passed and on 30th July, Nikki came down stairs and waved a pregnancy test under my nose. I had a quick look at it, saw a single line and realised I had no idea what this meant (I assumed it was a positive result but I genuinely didn’t know if it was good news or not). After a few seconds of confusion on my part Nikki confirmed that she was pregnant and we were going to have a little brother or sister to our 2 year old.

I think it was safe to say Nikki was excited by the news, me, I as always was a bit more muted at the news. It wasn’t that I wasn’t thrilled by the news, however my mind started to consider possible outcomes and it left me worried about what we were going to do. Thoughts about where baby would sleep, would we be able to reuse our sons older clothes, how will our son react! All scary thoughts.

Nikki continued to feel ill, but at least she had a reason for it. Fast forward a few weeks and Nikki made an appointment at the doctors to investigate some abdominal pains she was experiencing, they recommended that she have a early pregnancy scan to make sure that everything was going ok. She asked me to come along, and being a good daddy I obliged. At the scan we found that baby had a heart beat and everything was progressing well. We were also were told that there were signs of a second sac, and that it was likely a second pregnancy that hadn’t continued. In truth this was a shock, but at the same we both felt blessed to have one healthy child on the way, and that it was difficult to feel sad about something we didn’t know existed (of course it’s sad but...)

We had a second scan a fortnight later (at week 8 of the pregnancy) to check that everything was progressing well. I’m glad to say it was. We got to see baby again, which was fantastic. I was amazed to find out that baby had grown from 4mm (tiny!) to 20mm in just 2 weeks. 4 weeks later, at the 12 Week scan baby had grown to 55mm, another massive jump in length. In all honesty I had forgotten how amazing the journey baby progresses along is. As with our first, each time we’ve been for a scan I’ve been so relieved that everything has gone ok.

I think Nikki is finally getting over her morning sickness, but she has started to get migraines in their place. I’m saying that she is worrying too much about the things she can’t control, so if you’re reading this Nikki - Chill, concentrate on getting baby here safely and everything will fall into place.

Next week we’re due to go for a gender scan. Again, in the spirit of honesty, I’d like another little boy. From a practical point of view, we’ve got lots of baby boy clothes in our house and we know several people that have boys too so clothing shouldn’t be an issue and the boys could share a room for longer, all practical things... and Nikki would have two mummies boys. However if it’s a little girl, everyone will be able to buy ‘pretty’ things and spoil her and we’ll have the complete family. I don’t really care what the gender scan reveals so long as baby is still developing healthily.

I’ll be back next week with another update, probably revealing whether we’re having a boy or girl.

Shrewsbury Town 1 - 0 Fleetwood Town| League One | 21/10/2017

Shrewsbury had returned to winning ways on Tuesday as they eased themselves to a 4-0 victory against Bristol Rovers. Paul Hurst named an unchanged team for the visit of Fleetwood Town, who came into the game off the back of two draws. Interestingly, both teams had managed to score in each of their games this season and both would be looking to extend this record.

The game was due to be played as a storm hit town, which would have an impact on the type of football played, it would be interesting to see which team adapted to the conditions best.

Shrewsbury: Henderson; Bolton (Payne 72), Nisiala, Sadler, Brown (Beckles 76); Whalley, Godfrey, Agogo, Rodman; Nolan; C Morris (John-Lewis 85)
Subs: MacGillivray, Beckles, Dodds, Gnahoua, John-Lewis, B Morris, Payne

Fleetwood: Cairns, Coyle, Eastham, Pond, Cargill, Bell, Dempsey, Schwabl (Hunter 75), O'Neill (Grant 62), McAleny (Hiwula-Mayifuila 63), Cole
Subs: Neal, Hiwula-Mayifuila, Burns, Grant, Rodgers, Hunter, Sowerby

First Half
It quickly became apparent that Fleetwood had come to the Montgomery Waters Meadow, playing a defensive 5-3-2 and when the ball went out of play, you witnessed a team instructed to waste time, this was bourn out with the first booking of the game being issued for repeatedly taking too long to take a throw in.

The half ended with Juinor Brown having two efforts on goal. The first saw him come off the left wing finding some space to release a right footed drive at the goalkeeper. The second chance came from the left backs head as a corner was swung in, but the goalkeeper was equal to it.

Second Half
With the wind now working against Shrewsbury, a few supporters around me thought it might work against the team, but if anything Shrewsbury were more dominant after the break. However Fleetwood probably had the best opportunity to take the lead as a loose pass out from the back resulted in a quick two on one break. Fortunately, and probably deservedly given the negative tactics employed, the attacker with the ball slipped on the wet surface as he was bearing down on goal.

With the game heading towards full time, Shrewsbury won a corner. Shaun Whalley send the ball over for Nisiala to win a header and loop the ball towards goal, just over a defender on the post to send the supporters wild... the players reactions weren’t too bad either. This left only a few minutes added time to see out the game.

Final Thoughts
Against a team, obviously set up to frustrate Shrewsbury with the intentions of trying to get a draw, it felt very satisfying to nick a goal right at the death to win the game. With the goal coming in the 88th minute, there was no way Fleetwood come mount any pressure to try and force an equaliser.

Fleetwood never really looked like threatening Shrewsbury’s unbeaten record, it was whether Shrewsbury could force a winning goal.

The biggest concern amongst most supporters was the injury sustained by Juionr Brown just before he was substituted.

Man of the Match - Toto Nisiala
In a game that was hugely influenced by the stormy conditions, Toto was the defender we’ve come to love against Fleetwood. Quick across the ground to cover danger, strong in the tackle and dominant in the air. In the first half there was a perfect example of this as he raced back to make strong crunching tackles in quick succession, to really endear himself to the Salop faithful. His goal at the death to keep Shrewsbury at the top of the league was the cherry on the cake.

Shrewsbury Town 4 - 0 Bristol Rovers | League One | 17/10/2017

With two draws away from home, Shrewsbury were looking to get back to winning ways and at the very least continue the unbeaten start to the season. Bristol Rovers started the game having not drawn a game in the league. Something had to give, but I was hopeful that the town could get back to winning ways.

Shrewsbury: Henderson; Bolton, Nisiala, Sadler, Brown; Whalley, Godfrey, Ogogo (B Morris 85), Rodman; Nolan (Gnahoua 81); C Morris (Payne 66)
Subs: MacGillivray, Beckles, Dodds, Gnahoua, John-Lewis, B Morris, Payne

Bristol Rovers: Slocombe, Partington, Lockyer, Sweeney, Bola, Sercombe, O Clarke, Lines (Sinclair 45), Gaffney (Leadbitter 57), Harrison, Nichols (Telford 72)
Subs: Leadbitter, Brown, Broadbent, Telford, Moore, Smith, Sinclair

First Half
The first attempt at goal fell the way of the Gas, with the ball sitting up nicely to be struck by the Rovers attacker but the ball looped forward going narrowly wide, just catching the frame behind the goal. It was Shrewsbury, however, who took the lead after a fast counterattack from a Rovers corner. Henderson came out to claim the ball before throwing the ball to Whalley, he made his way to the halfway line before releasing Alex Rodman. Rodman continued the charge towards goal and snuck a shot under the goalkeeper to make it 1-0 after 12 minutes.

A further 12 minutes in, Shrewsbury extended their lead with Carlton Morris heading in a second from a left wing cross. Morris had done well to peak away at the far post before hanging in the air to power home his header. In truth the keeper should have done better with trying to keep the header out, but he only seemed to help the ball over the line. On 29 minutes, a third goal was tapped in by Jon Nolan, sweeping in a cross from Morris.

Junior Brown wrapped up a sensational first half performance by nodding in a fourth goal, unmarked from a free kick, just before half time. Understandably the Rovers fans jeered as their players left the field at half time.

Second Half
It was Brown again who came closest to adding to Shrewsbury’s goal tally in the second half driving into the box before unleashing a left footed shot in to the keeper’s near post, but the goalie stood firm and kept the shot out. In truth, Shrewsbury were able to take their foot off the gas, an keep Bristol Rovers at bay without the need to push forwards... even if the better chances fell to Salop.

In the dying moments Bristol managed their first shot on target that drew ironic cheers from the remaining fans.

Final Thoughts
The first half performance was probably as good as I can remember in a long time. Each goal knocked a bit more wind out of the sails of Rovers. I had thought the visitors had looked a threat going forwards, but in truth they were always playing in front of the defence, with Godfrey and Agogo breaking up play more as the game wore on. With the game won in the first half, Salop were able to control the game and ensure that Bristol weren’t given a sniff of goal. It was probably the best professional performance I’ve seen in some time, so much so that Paul Hurst was afforded the opportunity to withdraw two of his key men and give them the chance to receive standing ovations.

Man of the Match - Abu Ogogo
The vast majority of players could easily have been considered for my MOTM, Ogogo stood out for me by continuing his efforts from the first half into the second, harassing the Rovers midfield and defence, not giving them a moment to consider there options. Alongside Agogo, Godfrey and Nolan helped pull the strings in midfield whilst Whalley provided a number of assists, Rodman and Carlton Morris worked their socks off and got a goal each. The back four looked strong and composed throughout the game. That leaves Dean Henderson who didn’t put a foot wrong, but he wasn’t called in to action that much. Such a strong team showing.

I also want to mention the fans as they produced a great atmosphere particularly in the first half. It was definitely the case that the players inspired the fans, who in turn spurred the players on. One of the best nights for the club in a long time!