Shrewsbury Town 2 - 2 Doncaster Rovers | League One | 20/01/2018



Pre-match

After three difficult games in the space of 10 days (West Ham United home and away in the FA Cup third round and Blackburn at Ewood Park), Shrewsbury returned to home to play Doncaster Rovers. Recent signings Max Lowe and Luke Hendrie both started the game and it was the first time I'd really seen them play.

Starting the game in mid-table, Doncaster visited the Montgomery Waters Meadow on a run of three games without a win. I was surprised by the Donny teamsheet as I only recognised the name of James Coppinger, a mainstay of Doncaster over the last 14 years.

Teams
Shrewsbury: Henderson; Hendrie (Payne 87), Nsiala, Sadler, Lowe; Godfrey, Whalley, Nolan, Ogogo, Rodman (for Beckles 72); C Morris
Subs: Riley, Godfrey, C Morris, John-Lewis, MacGillivray, Adams, Rodman

Doncaster Rovers: Lawlor, Blair, Butler (Baudry 11), Wright, Mason, Houghton (Ben Khemisat 70), Kongolo (Beestin 45), Coppinger, Whiteman, Rowe, Marquis
Subs: Baudry, Marosi, Mandeville, May, Garratt, Beestin, Ben Khemis

First Half
Morris free header from Whalley free-kick just over the bar after 8 minutes

Shrewsbury deservedly took the lead as Mat Sadler stabbed home from close range as the ball dropped to him from a corner. Nsiala had the first effort but this was cleared off the line, before Sadler calmly struck home.

A few minutes later Sadler had a great opportunity to double the lead, again from a corner, Nsiala header the ball back across goal and sat up to be volleyed right-footed by Sadler but the ball flew just over the crossbar. Perhaps if the ball fell on to his left foot, the ball would have nestled in the back of the net.

Second Half
Shrewsbury started the second half well and Toto Nsiala had his header clawed away by the Rovers goalkeeper.

Doncaster improved as the game went on and almost drew level when the ball broke nicely to a midfielder bursting forwards, he struck the ball sweetly, but the ball went just wide of the goal.

Max Lowe burst into the box from the left leaving two defenders in his wake, his cross was intercepted and the ball came back to him but his shot hit the side netting.

Shrewsbury doubled their lead in a similar fashion to the first goal. Shaun Whalley put in a corner to Nsiala, whose header found Carlton Morris, who poked home to make it 2-0.

Doncaster were growing into the game, perhaps it was the hectic schedule that Shrewsbury had endured over the past two weeks, but Rovers were pressing to get back into the match. They got their reward as Dean Henderson slipped on the goal-line as a corner came in and a Donny player rose highest in the six yard box to nod home and make it 2-1.

Doncaster almost drew level, but Henderson stood firm and tipped a powerful shot over the crossbar.

With the wind in their sales, Doncaster pushed to draw the game level and they managed it from the games most controversial moment. Doncaster put over a cross and Henderson caught the ball whilst moving backwards, and as he staggered in to the goal net the linesman ruled that the ball had crossed the line and a goal should be awarded.

A final chance fell to Doncaster late in the game similar to Morris' headed effort in the first half, by Shrewsbury fans were glad to see the ball land on the top on the netting.

Final Thoughts
If Shrewsbury had gone in at half time 3-0 up I don't think anyone could have complained, but with a slender 1-0 lead things were a little bit nervy. As eluded to above, Shrewsbury had faced a difficult fortnight in the run-up to this game and playing extra time in the FA Cup replay, and perhaps this is why they dropped deeper as the game went on.

It's a cliche, but this was a game where two points were dropped. For most of the season Dean Henderson has been a beacon of consistency, but he was culpable for both goals today, first with the slip and then carrying the ball over the line when he may have dealt with the cross in another way. But I think Town fans will forgive him as he has regularly produced world class saves to preserve victories and draws so far this season.

I'll also comment to say that I'd question the decision of Paul Hurst to tinker with the formation just before the second Doncaster goal, changing to three centre halves. Hopefully this was a blip and with the success we've had this season, I can accept one in the same way I'll still be backing Henderson in future matches.

Just for clarification, I was sat in line with goal when Henderson stepped back over his line, and my initial thoughts were that the ball went with him. At the time of writing this, I'm still waiting to see confirmation (either way) as to whether the goal was correct in being awarded.

Man of the Match - Carlton Morris
There were a number of players who caught the eye today, but it felt like a solid team performance and not a spectacular one. Nsiala caused problems from corners and got two assists, Lowe and Hendrie also looked good coming in on either fullback position. but Morris was my man of the match.

As Shrewsbury Town fans have come to expect, Morris worked the entire Doncaster backline by himself, dragging centre halves away to create space for the creative players like Rodman, Whalley and Nolan. I was pleased that he got a goal as I think his recent play has warranted one.


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