FULL TIME: Shrewsbury 1 Crewe 3
Shrewsbury's hopes of League One survival took a huge blow with defeat at the Greenhous Meadow against Crewe Alexandra who climbed out of the relegation zone.
In front of nearly 7000 fans, the damage was done with two goals either side of half time. Mathias Pogba's header put the Alex in front and Uche Ikpeazu doubled their lead five minutes into the restart. Anthony Grant then added a third towards the end before Tom Bradshaw hit a well struck consolation in stoppage time.
The result leaves Shrewsbury five points adrift of safety with three games to play.
Manager Mike Jackson made one change to the line-up with on-loan former Crewe striker Shaun Miller brought into the starting XI. Miller, who scored 39 goals in 163 games for the club, replaced Bahrudin Atajic who dropped to the substitutes bench. Jermaine Grandison sat out the game through injury. Crewe included former Town 'keeper Steve Phillips on the bench. The Alex were without on-loan Arsenal striker Chuks Aneke who was suspended.
The opening minutes were a bright and breezy affair with Miller looking lively against his former club, while Pogba brought a straightforward save from Chris Weale after a low shot from just outside the box. The 'keeper's gloves were also warmed in the 10th minute when Byron Moore's well struck effort was stopped, but it was straight at Weale who had no trouble holding on to it.
Nine minutes later, Moore wastefully blazed over after Connor Goldson could only half clear a cross, and with clear sight of goal, he could only send his shot well off target from 15 yards. It was the game's first real chance, and it proved to be a big let off for Town.
That only spurred Shrewsbury into action though, and after the busy Jon Taylor flicked the ball through from the edge of the box, Miller was denied by a superb save from Ben Garratt who spread himself well to keep the ball out.
Under clear blue sky and bright sunshine, the game went into something of a lull with both sides losing their attacking edge and guilty of giving the ball away too cheaply.
But with seven minutes of the half remaining, the visitors took the lead to stun the vast majority of the Greenhous Meadow into silence. A corner found the head of Pogba who flicked a powerful header - via the aid of a deflection - into the corner of the net. Up until that point, Town had looked fairly comfortable at the back, but a moment of defensive ill discipline cost them dear.
A big second half began with Shrewsbury kicking towards their own supporters in the Salop Leisure Stand, but with just five minutes played disaster struck again as Crewe went two-nil up. The goal arrived courtesy of a bullet of a shot from Ikpeazu, who turned on the angle and rifled in an unstoppable shot into the top of the net after a short corner.
Soon after Taylor nearly reduced the arrears but shot wide, and Paul Parry's curling cross from the left was tipped over by Garratt as Town upped their game.
Taylor again came close on 59, but his fizzing shot hit the side netting after a strong 40 yard run by Goldson through the middle. Some sections of the Shrewsbury crowd were on their feet celebrating as they thought it was in, but that joy was short lived.
With Town now dominating, a first Shrewsbury change arrived on the hour mark when Celtic loanne Atajic was introduced, with Tom Eaves withdrawn from the action.
Goldson then went into the referees notebook, becoming the first player to be booked after a late challenge on Brad Inman.
Shrewsbury continued to knock at the Crewe door, and saw another sight of goal when Parry brought a smart save by Garratt at his near post after Arron Wildig slipped him through.
A clutch of substitutions soon followed with Steve Davis making Crewe's first change with twenty minutes to go. Oliver Turton was brought on to replace goal-scorer Ikpeazu. Shrewsbury changed things around when Luke Summerfield, on his first home start of 2014 after injury, was replaced by Ryan Woods. A third and final switch arrived with 13 minutes to go - fit-again Bradshaw came on to replace Miller, who endured a frustrating afternoon against his former side. Inman then came off for Crewe with Vadaine Oliver brought on as Crewe looked to see out the match.
Oliver should have added a third soon after but somehow missed an open goal from close range.
That left off proved to be short lived though for Shrewsbury who conceded a third goal with two minutes remaining. Town lost their ball inside their own half, and Grant ran half the length of the field to slot the ball past the advancing Weale.
The only bright spot arrived in stoppage time when sub Bradshaw netted after a smart turn and shot which nestled into the bottom corner. It was his first goal since October when scored in the two-all draw with Carlisle at the Meadow.
ATT: 6947 (1324)
Town: Chris Weale, Dominic Iorfa, Tamika Mkandawire (c), Connor Goldson, Joe Jacobson, Jon Taylor, Aaron Wildig, Luke Summerfield (Ryan Woods 71), Paul Parry, Tom Eaves, (Bahrudin Atajic 61), Shaun Miller (Tom Bradshaw 78)
SUBS NOT USED: Joe Anyon, Dave Winfield, Dom Smith
Crewe: Ben Garratt, Matt Tootle (c), Mark Ellis, Adam Dugdale, Jon Guthrie, Byron Moore, Liam Nolan, Anthony Grant, Mathias Pogba, Brad Inman (Vadaine Oliver 79), Uche Ikpeazu (Oliver Turton 70)
SUBS NOT USED: Steve Phillips, Kelvin Mellor, Ajay Leitch-Smith, George Ray, Billy Waters
REF: Gavin Ward