Town: Leutwiler, Grandison, Demetriou, Goldson, Knight-Percival, Lawrence (c) (Vincent, 90), Wesolowski, Woods, Gayle, Collins (Mangan, 86), Akpa-Akpro,
Subs not used: Burton, Vernon, Griffith, Ellis, Clark
Norwich City: Rudd, Whittaker (c), Cuellar, Howson, Lafferty (King, 79), Hooper (Loza, 62), Miquel, Bennett, Garrido, O’Neil, Odjidja-Ofoe (Murphy, 57)
Subs not used: Ruddy, McFadden, Toffolo, McGrandles, King
Referee: Scott Mathieson
Attendance: 6,187 (992 from Norwich)
Martin Wild reports from Greenhous Meadow
Micky Mellon’s Shrewsbury Town claimed their place in the Capital One Cup’s fourth round for the first time in 28 years tonight, after another giant-killing feat in this competition. James Collins’ header ten minutes after the break added Norwich City to Town’s catalogue of victims, joining Blackpool and Leicester City who had succumbed in rounds one and two.
The manager made a number of changes to his side following the scoreless draw with Newport County at the weekend. There were recalls for Mickey Demetriou, Cameron Gayle, Liam Lawrence – who took the skipper’s armband - and Collins. The four players replaced all took their place on a strong Town bench (Mark Ellis, Anthony Griffith, Jordan Clark and Scott Vernon).
The rains had been tumbling in Shropshire for a good hour and a half before kick-off, and there was still a light drizzle as the Canaries – wearing an unfamiliar black and maroon strip – got us underway.
Town forced a couple of early corners and Lawrence blasted a shot well wide but Kyle Lafferty was guilty of a shocking miss on nine minutes from Elliot Bennett’s brilliant delivery. The centre forward’s run in behind the home defence was fantastic, and his header from inside the six yard box should have put Norwich one up in their first attack, with Lafferty unlikely to get a better chance all season.
City’s passing and moving was as you might expect of a side that played top flight football last season, even though Neil Adams had named a completely different XI to the one which fought back from two goals down to earn a point on Saturday. For all their possession though, they hadn’t fashioned anything to trouble Jayson Leutwiler. And when Lafferty threw his head at Javier Garrido’s pacy left wing cross it near as dammit landed at the linesman’s feet.
Town’s best effort came on 34 minutes when Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro flashed a left foot effort a yard or so wide when the visitors defence opened up for the first time, and then Gayle got himself into a terrific area but couldn’t find the cross with plenty of blue shirts waiting for it.
The next time Town threatened, it was that man Akpa Akpro again who latched on to a terrific through ball from Lawrence to bring the best out of Declan Rudd. And moments later – in Shrewsbury’s best spell of the night – another lovely piece of improvisation by the
Town skipper got James Wesolowski in, but the midfielder’s effort was deflected behind for another corner.
Suddenly, it was Town asking most of the questions right in front of a well-populated away end, with credit due to the near-thousand travelling support on their first visit to the Greenhous Meadow. It had become a well-contested affair with more of a balance to proceedings as the sides headed down the tunnel at nil-apiece.
Half-Time: Town 0 Norwich City 0
There were no changes in personnel at the break, with most of the talk in the press room during the half-time cuppas all rather complimentary about Town’s performance in the first 45.
Ex-Leeds man Jonny Howson curled one wide with the first effort of the second period with Leutwiler still to lay a decent glove on the ball.
Town survived a loud penalty appeal when Gary Hooper tumbled under Jermaine Grandison’s challenge, but the former Celtic striker’s protestations fell on deaf ears.
Wesolowski was enjoying himself and set up Collins who rippled the side netting, but he wasn’t to be denied for long. Grandison’s header from Lawrence’s free kick fell nicely for the Irishman who headed the ball back across a flailing Rudd and into the corner of the net, to give Salop a 55th minute lead.
Adams made a couple of quick changes with the tide having turned somewhat. City, by now, were having to play second fiddle to a Shrewsbury side full of confidence in front of their own fans, and the response from the home stands was excellent.
Connor Goldson had half a chance to make it two with 20 minutes left, but his header wasn’t the best from Lawrence’s corner and sailed well over.
Lafferty was booked for pushing Wesolowski in the chest and 30 seconds later he appeared to go in late on NKP. He was a very lucky boy that referee Scott Matthieson had his lenient head on, or he could have become the third visiting player sent off here within a week. Moments later, the crook went round Lafferty’s neck for a third Norwich change. Perhaps Adams had sensed the gangly front man was walking a very precarious tightrope. His replacement, Cameron King, lashed the ball past Leutwiler 60 seconds after coming on, but the assistant’s flag came to Town’s rescue much to the delight of the fans.
And the Canaries would come close again with seven minutes left when Steven Whittaker’s marauding run ended with a fine shot across Leutwiler, but it flashed the wrong side of the upright from a Norwich perspective.
Mangan replaced Collins four minutes from the end, and the added time was just being indicated by the time the outstanding Lawrence was withdrawn for Vincent. Town had four minutes to hold out and claim another big scalp. And hold out they did to rapturous applause from the Meadow faithful - who must surely be praying for another big name when the draw takes place tomorrow night.
Full-Time: Town 1 Norwich City 0