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


Pre-match
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.

Teams
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.

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