Shrewsbury Town 1 - 0 Charlton Athletic | League One Playoff Second Leg | 13/05/2018

After a strong performance at the Valley, Shrewsbury took a slender 1-0 lead into the return leg of the playoffs against Charlton, after Jon Nolan scored a world class goal to give Salop the edge.

With Abu Ogogo still missing through injury, Bryn Morris retained his place in Shrewsbury’s team selection, which had a familiar feel to it, with the majority of the team having been included on the team sheet all season.

Charlton had come into the playoffs on a run of six victories in their last ten games under temporary manager Lee Bowyer. A number of players caught the eye in the first leg when Charlton attacked and on loan goalkeeper Ben Amos made a number of crucial saves. Sullay Kaikai returned to the Montgomery Waters Meadow having had 2 loan spells at Shrewsbury in the 2015/16 season scoring 12 goals.

Shrewsbury: Henderson; Bolton, Nsiala, Sadler, Beckles; Whalley (Riley 90), B Morris, Godfrey, Nolan (John-Lewis 90+3), Rodman; C Morris (Payne 69)
Subs: MacGillivray, Riley, Lowe, John-Lewis, Jones, Eisa, Payne

Charlton Athletic: Amos, Dijksteel (Sarr 86), Bauer, Pearce, DaSilva, Forster-Caskey, Konsa, Aribo, Fosu-Henry (Kaikai 62), Magennis, Ajose (Mavididi 59)
Subs: Kashi, Kaikai, Reeves, Phillips, Mavididi, Sarr, Zyro

First Half
With the home crowd well and truly behind the team, Shrewsbury created the first chance of the match, with Alex Rodman controlling Carlton Morris’ cross at the second attempt before sneaking in a shot that the Charlton goalkeeper need to get a hand to tip it round the post.

Charlton were perhaps unfortunate to not get a penalty when one of their midfielders broke into the box and played a mid height cross in that struck Mat Sadler’s arm, but the referee waved away the appeals from the away team.

Most of the Shrewsbury attack were stemming from the left wing (in the shade as the baking sun shone down), and Carlton Morris played a delightful back healed pass into the run of Rodman, wrong footing the Charlton defence. Despite only having the goalkeeper to beat, Rodman’s shot from inside the six yard box was straight at the keeper who made the block.

Second Half
Shrewsbury got the goal the fans were craving early in the second half as Carlton Morris collected a pulled back cross from Shaun Whalley, taking a touch to set himself up before poking a left footed shot in at the near post.

Charlton presses for an equaliser on the night, but we’re generally kept at bay with one exception as a Charlton attacker stole in at the back post but failed to make a meaningful connection with the ball leaving Dean Henderson an easy save.

Shrewsbury had a great chance at the end to double their advantage but between Jon Nolan and Stefan Payne, they were unable to convert a two-on-two attack as the Charlton goalkeeper made a miraculous save to deny them.

Final Thoughts
Shrewsbury worked hard for their victories over the two legs, but in the end they deserved to go through to the playoff final at Wembley.

Charlton were restricted to half chances in this game, but never really had anything clear cut and didn’t replicate their attacking prowess that has been on display in the first leg. By contrast Shrewsbury could afford to soak up pressure and hit Charlton on the counterattack.

With that all said, there were times that I thought the pressure got to the players as simple passes went astray and neat moves broke down as players didn’t continue runs or that they weren’t on the same wave length. I’m hopeful that this can be addressed in the weeks leading up to the playoff final.

Man of the Match - Ben Godfrey
In another strong all round team performance, Ben Godfrey looked assured on the ball and ruthless in the tackle. His persistent tracking of midfielders was a big part of the reason why Charlton were restricted in their efforts on goal. I also thought he covered for Bryn Morris, who seemed to be sometimes lethargic compared to Godfrey’s high energy performance.

As with most games I’ve seen this season, I could justify a number of players being my man of the match with Nsiala and Sadler looking assured in the centre of defence, Whalley and Rodman working hard on the wings tracking back and looking threatening going forwards or Carlton Morris for not giving the Charlton defenders a moments peace. But once again Godfrey put in a performance for the team that exemplified the ethos Paul Hurst has instilled in his team this season.

Little Man’s 3rd Birthday!

Amazngly, our little man is three today and one thing I've noted is how difficult it is to find age appropriate presents. Whether it's birthday's or Christmas, I never seem to find any presents that I think would be suitable, I only ever seem to find either stacking cups or an advanced science kit!

Having struggled to decide on presents, for his birthday this year we've got him...

Fire HD 8 Kids Edition Tablet - link
This present has had me split. My son is great with technology and regularly spends time using our mobile phones to play games and do reading eggs, which is developing his reading, maths and co-ordination skills, also using the touch-pad mouse is helping him multitask - so it makes sense that he has his own device. But the flip side of this is that I'm concerned that he may end up spending too much time using IT rather than building on some of his other more creative pastimes. 
The good thing about the Kids Edition of the Fire is that it comes with a two year worry free guarantee, which means any accidental damage will be covered - no questions asked (that said he is generally very careful with his possessions). Time will whether this is a good present for him or not. 
Crayola Dual Sided Dry Erase Board - link
My son loves drawing pictures and will happily squirrel himself away to draw pictures of rockets (or our family). We've got him a Crayola dry wipe board which we can take it with us wherever we go and he can doodle to his hearts content.
That's not my... Zebra Colours - link
Having bought a number of other 'That's Not My...' books (Dinosaur, Elf, High Chart & Book, Taller & Shorter) previously for my son, I picked up the Zebra Colours version so we can use it to teach him to read.
Galts Water Magic ABC - link
He loves a similar product which features Thomas the Tank, so we've got him another one which we can use to help teach him how to write his alphabet. As they use only water, I love these kinds of books as you can re-use them once the water has dried/evaporated.
In previous years we've gone overboard with presents, but this year we've decided to go with quality over quantity. Hopefully he'll appreciate the presents we've got him, I'm sure he will as he has been in the past.

Baby Girls Arrival!

This is a short post announcing the arrival of our daughter on 31st March. Nikki & baby are both doing well and are hoping to be discharged from hospital on Monday (2nd April).

Our son is so proud and happy to be a big brother having waited so patiently for his sister to be 'fully cooked' (referencing a bun in the oven - so clever at only 2 years old!) as you can see in their first photo together.

I'm sure there will be plenty of posts coming out about how our lives have been changed with Baby Girls arrival. I'll be looking to post about my experiences of her birth in the coming weeks and Nikki has posted an announcement on her blog, you can read about it here.