Shrewsbury Town 2 - 0 Portsmouth | League One | 23/12/2017


Against Blackpool last week, Shrewsbury Town kept the pressure on Wigan by winning 1-0 in a game where both teams for the most part cancelled each other out.

In an impressive run, Portsmouth travelled to Shrewsbury having won seven of their previous eight matches. Starting the day in seventh, I was expecting a tough match against Pompey.

Thirteen of Shrewsbury Towns eight wins in all competitions this season had been by one goal. Seven of Portsmouth's last nine wins have been by one goal. So I was expecting another tight game, likely to be settled by one goal.

Shrewsbury: Henderson; Bolton, Nsiala, Sadler, Beckles; B Morris, Whalley , Nolan, Ogogo, Rodman (Godfrey 87); C Morris (Payne 75)
Subs: Riley, Godfrey, Dodds, Gnahoua, John-Lewis, MacGillivray, Payne

Portsmouth : McGee, Thompson, Clarke, Burgess, Haunstrup, Close, Rose, Lowe (Hawkins 60) Evans, Kennedy (Bennett 60), Pitman (Chaplin 77)
Subs: Hawkins, Main, Donohue, Chaplin, Bennett, May, Bass

First Half
Shrewsbury Town started positively and could have been awarded a penalty as Carlton Morris got bundled to the ground as he went to pull the ball back when running behind the Portsmouth defence, but the referee gave a goal kick instead.

A few minutes later Jon Nolan had a shot from 25 yards, but it flew over the bar. It all stemmed from a short free-kick played between Nsiala and Bryn Morris who worked the ball to Nolan.

Shrewsbury continued to press for the opening goal and Alex Rodman had a great chance to score as he cut in from the left and unleashed a right footed shot, but a Portsmouth defender got his head to the ball to clear it.

Second Half
Shrewsbury stepped it up in the second half and had a great chance to take the lead as the referee awarded them a penalty when Carlton Morris broke free of the high defensive line Portsmouth were holding, only to be brought down by the goalkeeper as he tapped the ball past him. Shaun Whalley stepped up to take the penalty, but his shot lacked conviction and the goalkeeper made an easy save.

Portsmouth were present with a chance to punish the penalty miss as one of their attackers was brought down in the centre of the pitch, 25 yards from goal. The free kick was on target but Dean Henderson was equal to it and pushed the ball away.

Whalley made amends for his penalty miss shortly afterwards. Alex Rodman cross was cleared to Jon Nolan, his shot took a deflection and as the goalkeeper tried to deny Shrewsbury a corner, Whalley beat him to the ball and tucked away his eighth league goal of the season.

Shrewsbury got a deserved second after Abu Ogogo harried the defence, who lost the ball to Stefan Payne. He in turn charged down on goal and though the goalkeeper got a hand to his shot, it wasn’t enough to stop the striker from scoring.

Final Thoughts
After a few performances were manager Paul Hurst questioned the application of some players, this was a much improved performance especially in the second half. I had been concerned pre-match that Portsmouth would be a tough opponent, but Shrewsbury kept them at bay and created enough opportunities to record a deserved victory.

I was worried that the penalty miss would mean that Shrewsbury won’t be able to capitalise on their pressure, but they found the goals needed to beat Portsmouth.

Man of the Match - Carton Morris
Thankfully, it was back to business as usual with the whole team working together, meaning it’s difficult to single players out. That said, James Bolton, Abu Ogogo and Jon Nolan all shone, but I thought Carlton Morris set the example for the rest of the team. He ran selflessly upfront, chasing balls over the top, working hard to create chances for himself and the rest of the team. He seemed to have the pace to beat the central defenders and this running resulted in him winning a penalty for the team.

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