Shrewsbury Town 0 - 1 Bradford City | League One | 25/11/2017

I was excited for the visit of Bradford City as I thought they’d set a good benchmark as to how far Shrewsbury have come this season and it would be a good opportunity to bounce back from a couple of defeats recently.

Bradford started the day in fifth and were unbeaten away from home this season, averaging three goals a game when they were the visitors. Shrewsbury were still top, despite being beaten by Bury in their last match.


Shrewsbury: Henderson; Bolton, Nsiala, Beckles, Sadler (John-Lewis ‘90); B Morris; Whalley, Godfrey (C Morris ‘74), Nolan, Rodman; Payne
Subs: MacGillivray, Riley, C Morris, Dodds, Gnahoua, John-Lewis, Adams

Bradford City: Sattelmaier, Reeves, Kilgallon, Vincelot, Law (Robinson ‘54), Wyke, Taylor (Thompson ‘76), Gilliead, Hendrie, Knight-Percival, McMahon
Subs: Raeder, Thompson, Poleon, McCartan, Pybus, Patrick, Robinson

First Half

The game started in very even fashion, with both teams looking dangerous, Shrewsbury had more of the ball but Bradford looked effective with their long passes over the top of the defence.

Ben Godfrey placed a header just wide from a Shaun Whalley free kick, who in turn had a left footed shot which curled a couple of feet over. Shots continued to rain down on the Bradford goal but none really tested their goalkeeper.

Second Half

Shrewsbury started the second half well and Jon Nolan should have tested the goalkeeper, but unfortunately he didn’t make contact with the ball with a half-volley. The chances continued with Shaun Whalley out jumping the Bradford left back and placed straight at the goalkeeper.

Against the run of play, Bradford took the leader when Toto Nsiala sliced a block into his own net. Bradford had cleared the ball and a simple knock on took Beckles out of the game, leaving Sadler to chase back the Bradford forward, but couldn’t get goal side of him. The ball was crossed in and Nsiala, at the near post, tried to intercept the ball but sent the ball spinning passed Henderson who was left flat footed on the opposite side of the goal.

Shrewsbury continued to press and forced the goalkeeper into several good saves as the game wore on. First Carlton Morris, then Whalley drew the goalkeeper into parrying the shot, but Shrewsbury couldn’t capitalise.

Final Thoughts

There was an understandable feeling of disappointment at the end of the game. Bradford didn’t look like a team at the top end of the table, with negative tactics and a ‘hoof’ it up the field mentality, but it worked as they nicked a goal and Shrewsbury failed to score.

Having gone a good way into the season, and had the pleasure of watching some really strong performances by the team, it felt disappointing that things didn’t quite click for the team. Perhaps some players are in need of a rest because most of the team have played a lot of games.

On reflection Shrewsbury can count themselves unfortunate, as Bradford hardly troubled their hosts whereas Shrewsbury had a few good chances to score but failed to find the net. On another day, Shrewsbury would have got a couple of goals and a clean sheet, walking away with the three points.

Man of the Match - Shaun Whalley

Whalley was probably the brightest spark for Shrewsbury and gave the Bradford left back a torrid time. He showed glimpses of why fans love him, but regrettably no-one could finish off the chances he created.

Being Me #2 - Too Much Baggage!

This is one of those topics that I initially thought of when I was considering this series, and I hope that I don’t come across as horrible, in the end it’s for their own good...

I commute to and from the office by train, so I get to see all sorts of people. Most are traveling to work, college or school, but because the trains go through Shrewsbury (a hub for a number of Welsh lines) to Birmingham International, I also see a lot of people who are obviously going on their holidays. Some of these people haven’t considered the consequences of what they’re carrying.

When I see people struggling with their luggage I don’t offer to help.

I realise this might sound mean or selfish, but if people can’t manage at the beginning of their journey, how are they planning to deal with all their belongings when they get to where they are heading. In my eyes I’m letting them learn that they should only take what they can carry.

That’s that off my chest. What are your thoughts on people that can’t manage everything they carry with them? Would you help, or are you like me? Leave a comment below!

Five Favourite Friday... Children in Need Songs

Tonight sees the BBC hold their annual telethon to raise money for children’s charities, Children In Need. One of my favourite things to do with the night is the official songs that are released as one of the ways of generating money.

In honour of this years Children In Need event, I’m going to go through my favourite Children In Need Songs.

1) Lou Reed and Various Artists - Perfect Day 
Such an amazing ensemble of stars turned out for a very iconic cover of Lou Reed’s ‘Perfect Day’, a song that has a positive vibe to it.

2) Gareth Malone’s All Star Choir - Wake Me Up
The celebrity choirmaster pulled together an ‘all star’ choir to cover Avicii’s dance track ‘Wake Me Up’ and it’s a very good take on it!

3) S Club 7 - Never Had A Dream Come True 
A bit soppy, but very listenable to.

4) The Collective - Teardrop
It was only as I was researching this list that I heard this song, again it’s another group of popular artists of the day recording the classic Massive Attack track.

5) Peter Kay’s Animated All Star Band - The Official BBC Children In Need Medley 
A modern classic in my eyes, creating a wonderful medley of great tracks and it brought a number of songs to my attention that I now love. It’s also got a great video accompanying the track featuring dozens of familiar children’s animated characters, from Muffin the Mule to Iggle Piggle, Bagpuss to Scooby Doo.

A bit brief, but there we have my favourite Children In Need Songs.

You can donate to the cause here -

Baby Update - Trip to Hospital & Consultant Appointment

This is just a brief update on how things are going with Nikki and baby as I realise it’s been a couple of weeks since my last post on the subject.

I’ll start off with an apology to Nikki. A couple of weeks back (I think Week 16), Nikki was suffering with cramps and had a feeling something wasn’t right. Unfortunately, I was under the weather and had spent the morning asleep and when I woke up I was being asked if I was going to join Nikki or not. Not really being aware of my surroundings, I said I would stay at home with our son and look after him. What I hadn’t realised was that Nikki had been on to the phone to her midwife and she had been told to head to the MLU (Midwife Lead Unit) at Telford Hospital. I was being asked if I was going her! It was only as Nikki pulled away that I felt huge guilt creep over me as I didn’t know what was happening and I should have gone too to support her. Instead I stayed at home watching movies with my son, not really knowing what was wrong, if it was serious or not and unable to be influence proceedings. I kept in touch with Nikki whilst she was at the hospital, but I should have been there in person. Luckily, things were going ok and Baby was still safe, but the midwife wanted Nikki to stay there until they had heard Baby’s heartbeat. Although it took a while (about 2 hours), Baby’s heart was eventually found and everything turned out alright.

So Nikki, when you read this, please realise that I’m sorry for not coming with you. I pride myself on trying to be there for you at every step, but I feel I let you down on this occasion.

The week afterwards, Nikki had an appointment with the consultant to discuss how Baby was going to be delivered. As our son was delivered via caesarean but Nikki wanted/wants to try giving birth as naturally as possibly with child no. 2. I wasn’t sure why Nikki wanted me there, it was to be a backbone for Nikki, in case she get pressured into agreeing to a planned cesarean and to push for a natural birth if possible. After what felt like an eternity in the waiting room (in real time about 20 minutes), we were taken to see the consultant, who said it was ok for Nikki to try for a VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Caesarean). So no need for me to act menacing, Nikki was recommended what she wanted with no concerns from the consultant. The only thing she had to be aware of was that by giving birth naturally there was a risk that her scar may tear as a result of the pressure create by pushing (I’m picturing something from a horror movie!).

After these two events I’m glad to say everything is progressing well, even if Nikki is feeling under the weather at the moment. We’re off for our 20 week scan later this week, so I’m sure there’ll be another update before long. Until then...

Shrewsbury Town 0 - 1 Walsall | Checkatrade Trophy | 07/11/2017

Having comfortably seen off Aldershot in the FA Cup and already qualified for the next round of the Checkatrade trophy, Shrewsbury could afford to experiment with their formation and personnel against Walsall.

Walsall had all but guaranteed progression to the next round also, meaning the match had very little riding on it.

Shrewsbury: MacGillivray; Godfrey Beckles, Sadler; Riley, Ogogo, Gnahoua (Shelis 81), B Morris, Rodman (Whalley 67); Payne, John-Lewis (C Morris 67)
Subs: Whalley, C Morris, Dodds, Adams, Gallagher, Gregory, Shelis

Walsall: Roberts, Kinsella, Wilson, Guthrie, Leahy, Ismail, Chambers, Morris, Edwards, Kouhyar, Bakayoko
Subs: Gillespie, Devlin, Jackson, Oztumer, Flanagan, Donnellan

First Half
The first half was a dreary affair with not much happening from either team although Walsall did hit the post early on after a save by Craig MacGillivray.

Shrewsbury seemed to not understand what formation they were supposed to be playing and they lacked the structure and organisation that I’ve come to expect from them this season. A number of the players looked lost, perhaps you can carry one player that’s out of sorts but any more than that and you’re setting yourself up for failure.

As the half wore on, Shrewsbury had a couple of half chances, Stefan Payne got a bit of space, but his shot was weak and straight at the goalkeeper then Joe Riley struck a shot that flew just over the crossbar. There were signs the team was starting to gel.

Second Half
The formation was altered at half time and it seemed to suit Shrewsbury better, although they were a long way from there best.

A flash point occurred when Ben Godfrey slide in to win the ball after a sloppy pass from Whalley, despite getting the ball he clattered into a Walsall player who stayed down after the tackle. The referee saw enough for a straight red card whiteout any hesitation.

In the dying moments of the game, Walsall got the only of the goal of the game as their striker was on hand to turn the ball home into a near empty net after a sliced clearance from Shelis.

Final Thoughts
The game was poor.

After the entertainment in the FA Cup, this was a let down against a local rival. There was very little between the two sides, and the goal that separated them was suitably a reflextuon of the game, lacking quality.

As mentioned, Shrewsbury struggled with their formation in the first half and players were running round aimlessly at points. Paul Hurst’s post-match interview alluded to his disappointment at his players attitude during the match.

Man of the Match - Matt Sadler
Very few contenders for the man of the match. Matt Sadler was one of the few players that put a shift in on the night and looked relatively sure in his role marshalling the Walsall attack.

Shrewsbury Town 5 - 0 Aldershot | FA Cup First Round | 04/11/2017

Shrewsbury Town 5 - 0 Aldershot | FA Cup First Round | 04/11/2017

In their last game in the league at Peterborough, Shrewsbury had lost their unbeaten start to the season thanks to a wonder strike from 35 yards. The next game presented Aldershot as the opposition in the first round of the FA Cup, so this presented a good opportunity to restore confidence.

Aldershot appear to have started the season well, currently sitting in 9th in the National Football League a few points off the playoffs.

As with most Cup games against clubs from lower league, I’m always wary of how players will react (especially as I’ve witnessed defeats to Staines Town and Histon). But having seen how Paul Hurst has drilled the players this season I felt confident of victory, probably by a couple of goals and not conceding.

The teams were announced and Shrewsbury confirmed all loan players had be allowed to play with the exception of Manchester United goalkeeper Dean Henderson.

Shrewsbury: MacGillivray; Riley, Nisiala, Sadler, Beckles; Whalley, Godfrey, B Morris, Rodman (C Morris 67); Nolan (Gnahoua 44); Payne (Dodds 82)
Subs: C Morris, Dodds, Gnahoua, Bolton, John-Lewis, Adams, Gregory

Aldershot: Smith, Alexander, Reynolds (Fowler 69) Evans, McDonnell, Oyeleke (Gallagher 69) Kellerman, Fenelon (Rowe 69) Robert, Mensah, Rendell
Subs: Skinner, Okojie, Gallagher, Rowe, Arthur, Fowler

First Half
The first half started evenly with both sides using the ball well, although some of the players brought into the Shrewsbury side looked a little nervous in possession of the ball.

The first clear cut opportunity resulted in the games first goal as Alex Rodman was left open at the back post to head home a Joe Riley cross, giving the home side the lead.

A second goal soon followed when the impressive Rodman burst into the box only to be brought down by the goalkeeper as he nicked the ball passed him. Shaun Whalley stepped up to take the resulting penalty, smashing the ball straight down the middle of the goal.

Having broken the offside trap, Stefan Payne should have added a third when he raced clear only to have a shot hit the goalkeepers legs and then play fizzled out. Shrewsbury we’re starting to dominate the game, however there was slight concern amongst the supporters as Jon Nolan limped off the field just before half time.

Second Half
Shrewsbury continued the second half as they had finished the first, with Payne getting a goal after 64 minutes. This time Whalley broke through the defence to face the goalkeeper, and unselfishly passed the ball to Payne who finished first time into the empty net.

As in the first half another goal quickly followed as Rodman turned a defender and squared the ball to Gnahoua, who swept home a fourth goal from a fourth different scorer.

And it was soon five as Carlton Morris Coolly finished shortly after being brought on clipping the underside of the crossbar after being sent clean through.

There were still further opportunities that could have seen Morris bag a hat-trick but it wasn’t to be as the game ended 5-0.

Final Thoughts
A professional football performance was needed from Shrewsbury Town and that’s exactly what the fans got. In truth I think that they could have been better in possession, but it’s difficult to argue with five goals, all from different scorers, and no goals conceded. Whereas in recent seasons we could have struggled with a game like this, Shrewsbury kept Aldershot at arms length and were never really troubled, however Aldershot did go about it the right way (not ‘parking the bus’), trying to the end to give their supporters a goal to take home.

Man of the Match - Alex Rodman
Although a number of players impressed me, Alex Rodman was pivotal to today’s victory, scoring the first goal and winning a penalty for the second.

When Paul Hurst brought Rodman to Shrewsbury Town, he said he was an old fashioned winger and today he gave the Aldershot fullback a prime example of this.