Town: Jayson Leutwiler, Liam Lawrence (c), Jordan Clark (Andy Robinson, 63), Nathaniel Knight-Percival, Mickey Demetriou, Ashley Vincent (James Caton, 70), James Wesolowski (Ryan Woods, 75), Cameron Gayle, Andy Mangan, Connor Goldson, Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro
Subs not used: Mark Halstead, Jermaine Grandison, Scott Vernon, James Collins
Accrington Stanley: Luke Simpson, Luke Joyce (c), Tom Aldred, Dean Winnard, Josh Windass, James Gray (Marcus Carver, 75), Will Hatfield (Cal Naismith, 80), Piero Mingoia, Nicky Hunt, Jordan Mustoe, George Bowerman (Jay Lynch, 44)
Subs not used: Shay McCartan, Liam Goulding, James Alabi, Rob Atkinson
Referee: C. Sarginson
Attendance: 4,298 (54 from Accrington)
Martin Wild reports from Greenhous Meadow
Shrewsbury Town put on an attacking masterclass at the Greenhous Meadow tonight as they systematically ripped apart beleaguered visitors Accrington Stanley. Andy Mangan scored a goal in each half with Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro scoring from the penalty spot, just before Connor Goldson lashed in a third in the last minute of the first half. Stanley were reduced to ten men when their unfortunate goalkeeper, Luke Simpson - who won’t have had many worse evenings – was dismissed in the incident leading to the 44thminute penalty. It was a backs-to-the-wall policy adopted by the Lancastrians in the second period with Town eventually winning at a canter.
Micky Mellon made three changes to the side which won in such dramatic fashion against Tranmere at the weekend. Mangan’s 90th minute leveller earned him a starting place and Liam Lawrence took over the captain’s armband on his return to the side. Akpa Akpro started up front alongside Mangan with James Collins and Scott Vernon both on the bench, along with Ryan Woods as Mellon kept things fresh with games arriving thick and fast.
Accrington kicked off with almost all of the pitch in shade, but despite really bright sunshine low over the West Stand, the floodlights were on from the off.
In the opening exchanges Town had a couple of efforts on goal with Mangan almost catching out Luke Simpson with a flick on that the keeper got lucky from as he was way off his line. He wouldn’t get lucky a second time. In the seventh minute – and just after Will Hatfield had gone ever so close with a 25 yarder - what looked like a routine clearance for the Stanley stopper ended in disaster as Mangan went to close down the space. The keeper struck the ball against the unsuspecting Town forward and it rebounded straight back into the unguarded goal to put the hosts in front. However fortuitous the outcome, they all count and Mangan had a second goal in blue and amber colours after his late contribution at the weekend.
Simpson redeemed himself somewhat by just managing to divert Akpa Akpro’s shot which looked set for the bottom corner, and as Town continued to dominate Akpa Akpro laid on a really good chance for Ashley Vincent but his effort was wayward.
Every time the ball was returned anywhere close to Simpson, the home supporters tried to put him off with the keeper certainly struggling with his kicking early doors.
Akpa Akpro looked hungry to add his name to the list of strikers who have been finding the net for Salop in the first weeks of the campaign. Collins, Vernon and Mangan had all registered for the Blues and the former Tranmere man wasn’t that far away with a dipping shot which just cleared the crossbar on 25 minutes. Town still led 1-0 but they were well in control and looking the most likely side to score again. Simpson wasn’t covering himself in glory at all and a backpass from a teammate needed a very quick change of feet or the goalie might have been red faced for a second time.
There were a couple of breaks in play with knocks for Vincent and Akpa Akpro, and this broke up Shrewsbury’s fluency and gave the visitors the chance to take a breather.
Jordan Mustoe cleared unconventionally off his own line under pressure from Vincent after a great bit of play from Mickey Demetriou set Mangan away down the left. The ball in was incisive and precise and although Mustoe got lucky, he had done well to read the danger and deserved his slice of good fortune.
After 42 minutes Simpson’s horrid evening got worse – much worse. A clearance hit a Shrews player and as the ball bounced forward, the Stanley keeper got in front of it and missed by a mile. That let in Mangan for what looked like a tap in. Simpson clearly fancied having the second half off and dropped the striker for the most obvious of penalties – yes, a Shrewsbury penalty – and an equally obvious red card for the number one. Incredibly, it was Town’s first award since Easter Monday last year – and that one was missed! Jay Lynch came on to face the spot kick with George Bowerman sacrificed, and Akpa Akpro sent him the wrong way to double the lead.
Poor Lynch. Before he’d even touched the ball he was beaten again as Town roared into a 3-0 lead a minute later. Goldson smashed a loose ball from a corner high into the net to end a really wretched first half for James Beattie’s side, who had to play the next 45 a man light.
Half Time: Town 3 Accrington Stanley 0
Mustoe diverted Goldson’s downward header just wide as Town picked up where they left off, and Lynch had to be alert at his near post to beat away Akpa Akpro’s driven low cross. There was much to admire about the way Mellon’s side kept pressing home their advantage. There was little sign of them taking their foot off the gas and they looked in the mood to add to Stanley’s woes.
Just past the hour Andy Robinson was introduced for his debut with Jordan Clark the man to make way. Within a minute Town had gone four clear with a quite exquisite goal. A powerful burst from Demetriou saw him feed the ball out wide to Akpa Akpro and his delivery with the outside of his right boot was met perfectly by the flashing head of Mangan and Lynch stood absolutely no chance.
With 20 minutes left it took a really good save from Lynch to keep out Vincent’s shot following more enterprise down the left by the impressive Demetriou. And shortly afterwards, Jayson Leutwiler was called into action for the first time from a Stanley free-kick, diverting the ball away at his near post.
Mellon made two more changes in the last third of the game with James Caton and Woods getting game time for Vincent and James Wesolowski, with both worthy of warm applause as they came off the field.
A fifth would have put the icing on the cake but few opportunities arrived for Town as Accrington battened down the hatches. Shrewsbury ended the game content to play keep-ball but there were many, many positives to take from this comprehensive victory.
Full Time: Town 4 Accrington Stanley 0