Shrewsbury Town 0 - 0 West Ham United | FA Cup Round Three | 07/01/2017


After beating Morecambe in round two of the FA Cup, Shrewsbury Town were drawn out to play West Ham United at home. At the time it felt like a good draw as West Ham were struggling in the Premier League and Shrewsbury were flying high in League One, but following a change in manager West Ham’s fortunes had improved and the defensive mistakes were being minimised.

Shrewsbury struggled with a mini slump in mid-December but regained their momentum over the festive period by taking 10 points from a possible 12. The match day squad included Max Lowe who had joined from Derby County on loan until the end of the season. There was a bit of a surprise when the teams were announced as Dean Henderson's name was included, having not been given permission to play in the last round.

West Ham came to Shrewsbury with mixed form having held some of the top premier league sides but losing to some of their fellow strugglers. The game saw West Ham manager David Moyes return to the club he played for back in the 1980’s and also the return of Joe Hart who was born in the town and started his career coming through the Shrewsbury youth teams.

Shrewsbury Town: Henderson; Bolton, Sadler, Nsiala, Beckles; Godfrey; Whalley (Gnahoua 88), Ogogo, Nolan, Rodman (Lowe 76); C. Morris (Payne 82)
Subs: Lowe, Dodds, Gnahoua, John-Lewis, MacGillivray, B Morris, Payne

West Ham United: Hart, Burke, Rice, Reid (Quina 86), Ogbonna, Masuaku, Kouyate, Obiang, Cullen, Chicharito (Martinez 71), Ayew.
Subs: Adrián, Haksabanovic, Martínez, Quina, Samuelsen, Neufville, Makasi

First Half
Shrewsbury fashioned the first opportunity of the game as Ben Godfrey connected with a Shaun Whalley freekick, although Joe Hart gathered from the toe of James Bolton averting the potential danger.

West Ham were making the most of the challenges put in by Shrewsbury, but there was a break in play as Mat Sadler clashed heads with Andre Ayew. The knock on the head must have left him concussed as a few minutes later he burst forward from centre back, riding a few challenges, before unleashing a left footed shot across goal that Hart pushed away, fortunately to a teammate.

The next chance fell the way of Alex Rodman, who cut in from the left and drew a good save from Hart, all after some concerted pressure by Salop. Omar Beckles also had an effort at goal as he brought down a clearance and riffled a shot just over the bar.

Second Half
Early in the second half Mat Sadler had to disappear down the tunnel to get some further attention to the cut sustained from the clash in the first half. There was some additional medical attention required for Cullen as Abu Ogogo caught him in the mouth - he lost a tooth in the incident.

Obiang had West Ham's first shot, dancing through the Shrewsbury defence but he then dragged his shot well wide.

Jon Nolan was presented with an opportunity to take the lead, as Stefan Payne won a tackle on the byline and pulled the ball back to debutante Max Lowe. Lowe darted into the box and slipped a pass to Nolan, he unleashed a shot, but it was wild and over the bar.

Final Thoughts
In truth, the game is mostly to be remembered by the two incidents that left players bleeding. I had been concerned in recent weeks that West Ham were going to turn up looking to prove they had improved, but Shrewsbury kept them at arms length for the vast majority of the game.  Joe Hart was the more occupied goalkeeper, as Shrewsbury created the better opportunities and had the better of the match.

I was thoroughly disappointed by West Ham as they didn't look interested in the game and rarely threaten the Shrewsbury goal, but both sides will get another chance to progress at the London Stadium in the replay.

Man of the Match - Mat Sadler
In a game where the opposition had a number of international attackers, Mat Sadler dominated them to the point whereby they hardly had a shot. Alongside Toto Nsiala, Sadler marshalled the West Ham attack, winning tackles and headers throughout the game. Having sustained a head injury in the first half, I'm sure his bandaged head will become an iconic image in years to come.

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