Shrewsbury Town 3 - 2 Rochdale | League One | 19/08/2017

The second home fixture at the Montgomery Water Meadow for Shrewsbury as they took on Rochdale after successive away fixture. Having lost the game against Nottingham Forest in the first round of the EFL Cup, Shrewsbury returned to winning ways against AFC Wimbledon when they played last week. Rochdale had opened their League account with a defeat and a draw, either side of a victory in the EFL Cup against Mansfield Town.

Shrewsbury: Henderson; Bolton, Nsiala, Sadler, Brown; Whalley (John-Lewis 90), Ogogo, Nolan, Rodman; Dodds (Adams 81); C Morris (Payne 68)
Substitutes: Gnahoua, John-Lewis, MacGillivray, Adams, Jules, Ennis, Payne

Rochdale: Moore, McGahey, McNulty, Canavan (Done 45), Ntlhe (Bunney 45), Rathbone, Rafferty, Camps (Allen 42), Henderson, Davies, Inman
Substitutes: Williams, Done, Collis, Allen, Cannon, Kitching, Bunney

First Half
The game started with both teams comfortable in possession crafting half chances, but it was Rochdale who were given the chance to take the lead as they were awarded a penalty after Toto Nsiala lunged in on a Rochdale player as they drifted into the box. From where I was sat, I thought it was a dive, but if the referee had deemed it a foul, the Shrewsbury defender could, possibly should, have walked for a reckless challenge. However no card was given, but Rochdale reaped the rewards by converting the penalty for with a powerful shot up to the keepers right.

The lead didn't last long as Shaun Whalley won a penalty bursting into the area, only to be brought down mid-flight. He dusted himself down and took the penalty himself, sending the keeper the wrong way from the spot. In next to no time, Shrewsbury had hauled themselves in front as Carlton Morris finished an Alex Rodman cross from close range. Shortly afterwards, Louis Dodds should have put Shrewsbury out of sight, as he was gifted a free run on goal after a poor back pass, but he shot tamely at the goalkeeper.

Second Half
The second half started with Rochdale having made all their substitutes in an attempt to stifle Shrewsbury. Again they were given an opportunity to score from a penalty as the referee spotted a handball from a corner much to the bemusement of most in the ground. After much remonstrating by Shrewsbury players, the penalty stood and again, Rochdale seized their opportunity, bringing the game level. Even after watching replays, I'm still convinced that there wasn't an infringement, and with this decision the referee created a toxic atmosphere from a good game.

Shrewsbury took the lead again after a poor clearance by the Rochdale goalkeeper which was nodded back and it landed at the feet of new signing Stefan Payne (who looked offside). He raced clear holding off a defender before placing the ball high passed the goalkeeper, giving Shrewsbury a 3-2 lead which they held on to until the final whistle.

Final Thoughts
It was another strong performance from Shrewsbury, and despite Dean Henderson making a world class save in the second half, they looked value for the win. Even going behind, you felt they could go on and win the game - which turned out to be the case. Apart from the two penalty and one really good opportunity, Rochdale didn't seem to create that many chances, whereas Shrewsbury were clinical, not something that has been seen for a number of years.

Man of the Match - Junior Brown
Another tidy performance by Brown who showed his usual commitment and endeavour to push the team forwards, whilst defending resolutely. It was a good working team performance and there were a number of other players that could have got my MOTM, again Rodman, Nolan and Bolton all caught the eye and Whalley was always a threat.

Five Favourite Friday... Dinosaurs

At the moment, my little boy is obsessed with dinosaurs and one of his favourite shows to watch on Cbeebies is 'Andy's Prehistoric Adventures'. Coupled with the fact someone on TV said about their son's favourite dinosaurs when I was doing my last Five Favourite Friday post about New Meadow Memories, meant we had to go for Dinosaurs this week!
1) Tyrannosaurus Rex - the king of the dinosaurs (despite the tiny arms). Big, strong and powerful, just like me...(Ahem!)
2) Stegosaurus - A large armoured dinosaur with large plates that protruded from it's back to protect it from predators.
3) Triceratops - I've always had an affinity to the number 3, so the triceratops has always been a favourite of mine. Although large and slow, it was always a threat to predators.

4) Dilophosaurus - Known to me from the Jurrasic Park films as the dinosaur that fans out it's neck and spits at Nedry.

5) Plesiosaurus - A long-necked dinosaur that roamed the oceans, propelling itself through the water using it's four paddle-like limbs.

You can find Nikki's favourite Dinosaurs on her blog here.  Next week, my blog celebrates it's first birthday (where has the time gone!), so we're going to look at our favourite Five Favourite Friday posts! Until then...

Shrewsbury Town 1 - 0 Northampton Town | League One | 05/08/2017

For the start of the 2017/18 season Northampton Town visited Montgomery Waters Meadow to take on Shrewsbury Town. Having finished 16th last season, the Cobblers, I'm sure, will be wanting to look further up the table this year. Salop on the other hand battled relegation all season, so we are hoping to avoid having a third season in the depths of the league most fans would be happy with mid-table obscurity, while others think we might be able to push on a little further, sneaking into the playoffs.

Shrewsbury: Henderson; Bolton, Nsiala, Sadler, Brown; Whalley (Gnahouaa 79), Ogogo, Nolan, B Morris, Rodman; C Morris (John-Lewis 79)
Substitutes: Dodds, Gnahoua, John-Lewis, MacGillivray, Adams, Jules, Ennis

Northampton: Cornell, Pierre, Barnett, Taylor, Buchanan, Powell, Crooks, Taylor (Kasimat 64), Bowditch, Richards (Revellat 73), Waters (Longat 64) 
Substitutes: Kasim, Revell, Lobjoit, Phillips, Long, Goff, Poole

First Half
With defences on top, the only real moment of note was a good passage of play that started with a Northampton player completing a drag back on the edge of the area leaving the Shrewsbury defence exposed and wide open. Henderson came out to close the striker, who knocked the ball past the goalkeeper leaving him the opportunity to chip a cross into the 6 yard box but fortunately Nsiala was on hand to clear the ball.

Despite having more of the ball, Shrewsbury were restricted to a couple long range shots, lacking both accuracy and power.

Second Half
Again both teams remained resolute in their defending and after 60 minutes Northampton had another strong attack, with several 'Hollywood' shots that were blocked as the ball ricocheted around Shrewsbury's penalty area before being cleared. The first opportunity for Shrewsbury might have arose from Ogogo bursting into the penalty area, who appeared to be brought down by a Northampton defender, but the referee gave a free kick for the cobblers, booking Ogogo for diving.

Shrewsbury make a break through at the death as John-Lewis converted Rodman's low cross from the left in the 92nd minute.

There was still time for another Northampton attack. As they attacked, the referee gave saw a foul and gave a free kick on the edge of the area, much to the dismay of the Cobblers who thought it occurred in the penalty box. The free kick was taken and end up at the feet of Rodman who broke free as the final whistle was blown.

Final Thoughts
It's always hard to judge the first game of the season, but I'm glad Shrewsbury have got their first win and important 3 points. It was a very even match, and one that would have likely been lost last season. I'm sure Northampton will be ok this season, as they looked compact and probably had the clearer cut chances.

Man of the Match - Bryn Morris
His performance may have gone unnoticed by some town fans, but he was the destroyer in midfield that allowed Abu Ogogo and Jon Nolan to pitch up the field and support attacks. His tackling was strong and decisive, and his distribution kept simple, with the odd longer pass to teammates, keeping the Cobblers on their toes.