Town: Chris Weale, Dave Winfield, Luke Summerfield (Hall, 66), Ryan Woods, Connor Goldson, Joe Jacobson (c), Paul Parry (Eaves, 46), Aaron Wildig, Shaun Miller (Grandison, 46), Tom Bradshaw, Jon Taylor
Subs not used: Joe Anyon, Dominic Iorfa, Bahrudin Atajic, Joseph Mills
Peterborough United: Bobby Olejnik, Kgosi Ntlhe, Jack Baldwin, Michael Bostwick, Jack Payne, Britt Assombalonga, Tommy Rowe (c), Nicky Ajose (McCann, 90), Conor Washington (McQuoid, 75), Mark Little, Lloyd Isgrove (Mendez-Laing, 74)
Subs not used: Joe Day, Craig Alcock, Joe Newell, Nathaniel Knight-Percival
Referee: Michael Bull
Assistants: Mark Astley & Mark Russell
Fourth Official: Danny Gratton
Attendance: 5,619 (630 visiting supporters)
Martin Wild reports from Greenhous Meadow
Shrewsbury Town’s relegation back to League Two was finally confirmed with a battling 3-2 home defeat against promotion chasers Peterborough United this afternoon. Jon Taylor put Town in front early on but Posh responded well scoring three times with goals from Conor Washington (2) and Lloyd Isgrove. Tom Bradshaw got one back for Shrews a minute before the break and Peterborough could even afford the luxury of a missed penalty in the second half. But substitute Josh McQuoid had the final say a minute from time to rub a little salt in the wounds.
Mike Jackson made changes to the side that lost heavily at Preston on Bank Holiday Monday. Out went Dominic Iorfa, Asa Hall and Joseph Mills who all dropped to the bench, and there were recalls for Dave Winfield, Paul Parry and Luke Summerfield.
Salop started well and before Posh had even had a touch Aaron Wildig forced Bobby Olejnik into an athletic stop to turn the ball over after half a minute. But Peterborough were in need of the points for a different reason and Kgosi Ntlhe went close with a low left footed drive that fizzed wide in a bright opening five minutes.
Just past the five minute mark top scorer Taylor had registered a ninth of the campaign with a terrific header from Joe Jacobson’s fantastic left wing delivery. It really was a beautiful goal and for only the third time since the turn of the year, Shrewsbury had managed to score the first goal in a game. The fact that they had won the previous two brought at least some hope.
Five minutes later the visitors should have levelled with three fantastic opportunities in one frenzied attack. First Chris Weale denied Britt Assombalonga then Washington hopelessly miskicked when the loose ball came back into the box, and finally Connor Goldson blocked a goalbound piledriver from Nicky Ajose. It was an amazing let off but the reprieve was the briefest possible.
Washington made up for his miss in Posh’s next attack when he pounced at the back post to plunder an equaliser despite Weale’s helping hand lifting the ball high into the goal. They’d threatened and in an enthralling encounter played out amidst a noisy accompaniment from both sets of fans, we were back on level terms.
As the game swung to the other end Olejnik had to stretch to deny Taylor a second from Wildig’s killer pass and Shaun Miller couldn’t profit from the loose ball.
Soon enough we had a third goal but this time it went in the way of the away side. Skipper Tommy Rowe played the ball through and Washington was onto it in a flash and passed it beyond Weale first time to double his tally for the afternoon. Town needed at least two goals or their fate would finally be sealed but at least they had the thick side of 70 minutes in which to get them.
In another three-pronged attacking surge Peterborough grabbed a third when Lloyd Isgrove finally beat Weale after the keeper had beaten out his first attempt, which came just seconds after Rowe saw his shot bounce back off the crossbar in the first phase. We were 28 minutes in and the away fans behind that goal were already in celebratory mood with a two goal cushion for their goal hungry side. Posh looked menacing every single time they crossed the halfway line and they were well on top here having recovered well from that early setback. As the relentless pressure continued, Assambolonga went close twice within a minute or the points would have been in the bag for Darren Ferguson’s side with just under an hour left.
With the home supporters’ frustrations growing, Miller almost brought some cheer but didn’t connect well enough and Olejnik made a routine stop. It was Salop’s first real journey into opposition territory for quite some time with the London Road side keeping Town on the back foot for long spells.
But right on half-time Town reduced the deficit when Bradshaw neatly guided in Ryan Woods’ cross, with a deft volley that found the net off the base of a post. Even the sun came out to celebrate and there was applause from all four sides of the stadium as the teams went in at the halfway stage.
Half Time: Town 2 Peterborough United 3
Woods moved into midfield at the restart with Jermaine Grandison going on for Miller, and Tom Eaves took the place of Parry in a double switch by Jackson.
Town almost got an equaliser after 52 minutes when a bout of juggling by Olejnik almost allowed Shrews to benefit from Grandison’s delivery. It led to the first of two corners in quick succession but both were comfortably dealt with. Eaves was next to test the Posh keeper who reacted brilliantly to keep out the Bolton striker from Jacobson’s great set piece, with Eaves looking for only his third Salop goal. Jacko’s boys had come out of the traps at breakneck pace and at long last, we had excitement and entertainment in abundance.
But Washington’s industry led to Winfield committing a foul in the box just before the hour and the linesman put his flag across his chest for the penalty.
Assombalonga stepped up and smashed the spot kick for goal but a magnificent stop from Weale kept Town right in it. Shrewsbury supporters reacted as if safety had been secured but it was that type of game and they were responding to the fight shown by their side.
Goldson denied Rowe with another goal line clearance and the fans weren’t happy when the ref brought play back with Town on the verge of mounting a counter attack. Ajose tested Weale and this game could have been well over but for the efforts of the Town stopper. As it stood though, Salop were still very much in the hunt and they might have made it 3-3 only for Summerfield to plant his 65th minute shot wide of the near post ahead of being replaced by Hall.
Woods cracked an effort a yard over the top after a brief lull but with two goals required inside 12 minutes Town’s fate was looking increasingly ominous.
The rubber stamping came in stoppage time when McQuoid scored a fourth but with results elsewhere, a win wouldn’t have made any difference.
Full Time: Town 2 Peterborough United 4