Town: Chris Weale, Cameron Gayle, Joe Jacobson (Summerfield, 59), Darren Jones, Yado Mambo, Jon Taylor (Purdie, 80), Matt Richards (c) Dave McAllister, Steve McGinn, Marvin Morgan, Luke Rodgers (Parry, 46)
Subs: Joe Anyon, Paul Parry, Aaron Wildig, Luke Summerfield, Tom Bradshaw, Rob Purdie, Rob Edwards
PNE: Thorsten Stuckmann, Chris Robertson, Nicky Wroe, Graham Cummins (Monakana, 82), Lee Holmes, Joel Byrom (Welsh, 60), Paul Connolly, Jack King, Bailey Wright (c), Ben Davies (Huntington, 90), Stuart Beavon
Subs: Paul Huntington, Joe Garner, David Buchanan, Jeffrey Monakana, John Welsh, Chris Beardsley, Declan Rudd
Referee: S. Duncan
Assistants: M. Dwyer & K. Lawson
Fourth Official: G. Hart
Martin Wild reports from Deepdale
Matt Richards’ late penalty gave Shrewsbury only their second away win of the season at Preston. The home side led going into the break with a fine strike almost on the whistle from Stuart Beavon, but Jon Taylor levelled before the skipper earned the three points from the spot.
There were two changes to Town’s starting line up for this afternoon’s League One clash in Lancashire. Steve McGinn came in to make his first start for the club with Rob Purdie the man to make way, and up front Luke Rodgers was named to partner Marvin Morgan with Tom Bradshaw having to be content with a place amongst the substitutes. Also on the Town bench was the latest acquisition - defender Rob Edwards, who joined the club on Thursday.
Preston started well and had a half chance after five minutes when Graham Cummins swivelled in the box to get his shot away, but it lacked power and Yado Mambo was able to clear the danger a couple of yards from his own goal line.
The pitch at Deepdale was showing plenty of signs of wear and tear with much of the playing surface bereft of any grass, and early indications were that it was cutting up quite badly. It certainly wasn’t conducive to pretty football with lots of route one stuff being played and a raft of misplaced passes on show from both sides in a scrappy opening quarter hour.
Town’s first attempt at goal came as a result of a lousy ball back towards his own goal by Jack King. Morgan ran it into the channel and picked out the run of Dave McAllister but the midfielder couldn’t keep his header down.
You sensed a goal for Salop might make the natives extremely restless as each pass that eluded a white shirt was met with moans and groans aplenty. Deepdale is a hugely impressive stadium but PNE have only three wins in their own back yard this season and the pressure is on – not least from their expectant supporters who still turn out in decent numbers.
Cummins became the first man to have his name taken when his over-zealous challenge left McAllister in need of some treatment with play held up for a couple of minutes. Some of Mr. Duncan’s decisions weren’t endearing him to the Preston fans and their displeasure was made abundantly clear.
McAllister showed great technique to chest the ball down and volley towards goal from a cleared Taylor corner – Town’s third of the game – but Thorsten Stuckmann saved comfortably. Then Beavon forced Chris Weale into his first stop which was equally routine from a 25 yard free-kick.
Cummins almost got in behind in the last minute of the first half but Mambo was alive to the situation and came around to clear.
Seconds later the hosts scored with a goal from absolutely nothing. Beavon tried his luck from all of thirty yards and found the corner of the net with a great shot to change the whole dynamics of the game after a largely forgettable first 45.
Half Time: PNE 1 Town 0
Town made a change at the break with Rodgers replaced by former Preston man Paul Parry, and it was Parry’s volley which settled the reverse fixture in Shrews’ favour back in August. Preston, without a win here in 4 months, stayed as they were having been buoyed by Jeavon’s howitzer right at the end of the half.
Parry’s sloppy pass with Town in possession just inside the hosts half almost proved costly when North End’s Lee Holmes tested Weale with a rising drive from the edge of the area. The Town stopper made a fine save at full stretch and the resultant corner came to nothing.
Just before the hour mark Shrewsbury made a second change with Luke Summerfield introduced for Joe Jacobson. Almost immediately, they equalised and it was that man Taylor who brought them level. Parry did well down the left and picked out Taylor in space at the edge of the box. The winger brought the ball under control and fired in a cracking right foot shot that Stuckmann could only help into the corner of his net. The Town fans behind that goal went crackers and it was very much game on again.
As the home side looked to recover quickly from the setback, Town were indebted to Cameron Gayle who popped up on the line to prevent Cummins from nudging Preston back in front, and then Holmes was wasteful after creating a smashing opening for himself as the game finally sprung into life.
The substitutions had worked well for Graham Turner with both Parry and Summerfield helping Shrewsbury from an offensive point of view with the side a lot more cohesive since their introduction.
Cummins blasted a volley over but the flag was raised in any event and this was by now a far more entertaining contest with Graham Westley’s side also looking a bit more dangerous since the interval.
Taylor was struggling with a slight injury and Shrews made their final change with the goalscorer replaced by Purdie with 10 minutes left.
With the clock running down Town were awarded a penalty kick. McGinn’s brilliant pass inside the full back put Ben Davies in all kinds of trouble and he upended Morgan to make the ref’s decision an easy one. Richards had promised to smack his next pen into the net after missing his last one at Swindon and he duly kept his word to make it 2-1.
It was enough to win the game and gave Town a first league ‘double’ of the campaign, and heaped yet more home misery on the suffering – and angry - Preston public.
Full Time: PNE 1 Town 2