Town: Joe Anyon, Jermaine Grandison, Joe Jacobson, Ryan Woods, Connor Goldson, Tamika Mkandawire (c), Sam Foley (Eaves, 63), Asa Hall, David McAllister (Parry, 75), Joseph Mills, Miles Storey (Taylor, 75)
Subs not used: Chris Weale, Dave Winfield, Dom Smith, Bahrudin Atajic
Wolves: Carl Ikeme, Richard Stearman, Danny Batth (c), James Henry (Clarke, 57), Bakary Sako, Kevin McDonald, Jack Price, Ethan Ebanks-Landell (Doherty, 57), Scott Golbourne, Michael Jacobs, Nouha Dicko
Subs not used: Aaron McCarey, George Elokobi, Dave Edwards, Lee Evans, Liam McAlinden
Referee: Andrew Madley
Assistants: Adam Hopkins & Paul Thompson
Fourth Official: Marvyn Amphlett
Attendance: 24,012 (1978 from Shrewsbury)
Martin Wild reports from Molineux
Shrewsbury Town wrecked thousands of fixed odds coupons across the country this afternoon with a fantastic point gained at league leaders Wolves. The Molineux side had won their previous nine outings scoring thirteen goals in just their last four games. But Town defended with their lives to secure a third shut-out in five matches to deny the table toppers a tenth on the spin.
Mike Jackson made a couple of changes to the side which earned a point on Tuesday at home to Crawley Town. Goalscorer Paul Parry dropped to the bench along with Jon Taylor, with Jermaine Grandison named at right-back and Joe Jacobson recalled on the opposite side of the back four. Tom Eaves took his place amongst the subs with former Wolves striker Nathaniel Mendez-Laing omitted from the eighteen.
Wolves got the game underway attacking the South Bank which was packed out by the bulk of the home support, with Town represented by just under two thousand fans down one side of the pitch.
And it was Salop who were first to show when Sam Foley found some space on the edge of the box after just two minutes. His shot forced Carl Ikeme to go full stretch to push the ball away but in fairness, although the direction was there, a bit more venom was required to have brought about a dream opening.
Wolves had been sweeping every opponent aside in a run that has brought about those record breaking nine straight wins, but Town were acquitting themselves quite well in the early moments of the match. James Henry shot over from Ethan Ebanks-Landell’s low cross and then Grandison’s cross was just too high for Dave McAllister or the visitors would have led after 10 minutes. It should be noted that Foley had done brilliantly in the first place to get Grandison in behind.
In an end to end encounter Henry then laid on a chance for Nouha Dicko but the big front man didn’t make a connection and Shrewsbury escaped punishment. There was a terrific atmosphere inside the sunlit stadium but the home fans again had a scare when Jacobson headed over from Foley’s corner. Town were getting into some good wide areas and they were certainly asking a few questions of the Wolves defenders.
Hall shot straight down the throat of Ikeme after 25 minutes and then Joe Anyon sprung quickly off his line to make sure the door didn’t open for Dicko who was working the right hand channel.
Foley was having a smashing game but he should have done better than to blaze horribly wide from the edge of the box as Town continued to play their part in a free-flowing contest.
The home fans had probably come expecting a goal-fest but with just 10 minutes to play before the interval, they had become largely silenced by an impressive Shrews display. The noise levels increased significantly when Wanderers won a couple of successive corners but they came to nothing. But for some outrageous showboating by Bakary Sako on the dead-ball line when the opportunity to cross was there, there might have been an opening for the Old Golds. Instead, it just brought embarrassment for the lad. Each time he got the ball Sako was turning so many times this way and that, the only surprise was that he hadn’t managed to thread himself three feet into the turf.
Anyon parried Henry’s effort away in the last action of the first half with Salop the happier of the two sides as they went down the tunnel at nil apiece.
Half Time: Wolves 0 Town 0
At the resumption a great burst by James Mills ended with a neat pass to the feet of Miles Storey. Storey strode forward and took aim for the far corner with a precise curling effort which brought the best out of Ikeme. Wolves responded and it needed Connor Goldson to head clear Scott Golbourne’s attempt on goal, saving Anyon’s blushes after the keeper had fumbled Henry’s initial cross.
After 56 minutes Town had a glorious chance to go in front but Goldson failed to head into the net with a free header from Foley’s corner. He wasn’t too far away but it was an incredible let-off for Kenny Jacket’s high-flyers. Jacket made a double change in an effort to inject some purpose into his side who must have been surprised by the endeavours of a struggling Town outfit. Sako screwed an effort a yard wide when he got a lucky bounce of the ball but still we awaited the breakthrough with an hour on the watch. There was a similar outcome moments later with substitute Leon Clarke just failing to stretch enough to convert Sako’s carbon-copy effort.
Jackson introduced Eaves for Foley who had put in a very good shift for Town but Wolves were having their best spell of the game at this point. Thankfully, Mr. Sako was having an off-day for the home side.
It took a late goal to decide the corresponding game back in September when Sako netted from the penalty spot. We were already into the last 20 here with Salop still afloat – and deservedly so if not for workrate alone.
Taylor and Parry came on for Storey and McAllister as Jackson went for fresh legs, and Town were fortunate that Clarke could only help on his flick into the grateful arms of Anyon with 11 minutes to play. It was nervy stuff – Wolves didn’t need the point. We did. Sako again played Let’s Be Johnny Wilkinson with Taylor aggrieved not to have been awarded a free-kick in the build-up.
On 89 minutes, step forward Bakary Sako with another chance for Wanderers. Boom! Row Z. Not his best afternoon one would suspect.
Three minutes of added time were indicated for Shrewsbury to cling on to the precious point their endeavours deserved. Anyon threw up an instinctive hand to claw away the cross of the match with strikers queuing up to apply the match winning finish. It was a superb stop with hearts in mouths amongst the away contingent.
Eaves broke away at the death but lacked the killer instinct when a dream finish looked on, but the whistle soon sounded and the standing ovation from the travelling support was richly deserved.
Full Time: Wolves 0 Town 0