Town:Jayson Leutwiler, Matt Tootle, Mat Sadler, Ryan Woods, Jermaine Grandison, Connor Goldson (c), Abu Ogogo, Tyrone Barnett, James Collins (Liam McAlinden, 79), Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro (Shaun Whalley, 75), Martin Woods (Junior Brown, 68)
Subs not used: Callum Burton (GK), Mark Ellis, Scott Vernon, Liam Lawrence
Millwall:David Forde, Shaun Cummings, Tony Craig (c), Shaun Williams, Ed Upson, Lee Gregory (John Marquis, 85), Fred Onyedinma, Lee Martin (Shane Ferguson, 74), Mark Beevers, Byrone Webster, Steve Morrison
Subs not used:Paris Cowan-Hall, Jordan Archer, Sid Nelson, Jack Powell, Jamie Philpot
Assistants:Nick Greenhalgh & Akil Howson
Fourth Official:John Law
Attendance:6,671 (1,547 from Millwall)
Martin Wild reports from Greenhous Meadow
Shrewsbury Town fell to a 2-1 defeat at home to Millwall this afternoon on their return to SKY Bet League One. Despite leading early in the second half after Irishman James Collins scored Town’s first goal of the season, Steve Morrison quickly levelled, and Lee Gregory struck the winner soon after from the penalty spot.
There were three debutants named amongst Micky Mellon’s starting XI. Matt Tootle took his place at right-back, with Martin Woods and Abu Ogogo also handed jerseys from the outset. There was a raucous atmosphere inside the stadium with the away end packed out and in great voice, with Town fans also doing their best to make themselves heard. On a resplendent playing surface, Shrewsbury got the game underway attacking the Salop Leisure end of the ground.
It was an end-to-end start with both sides pretty much cancelling each other out. Town did have a couple of set pieces that were floated in by Martin Woods but neither resulted in a clear opening, and perhaps their best chance came on the quarter hour. Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro showed great strength down the left and his cross was just a fraction too high for Tyrone Barnett, with the striker unable to direct the header on target.
Two minutes later Tony Craig - the Lions skipper - tried his luck with a rasping drive from all of 30 yards which Jayson Leutwiler punched clear, and although the stop was an unorthodox one, it still had to be made. His next save soon after though was a cracker. The huge Swiss keeper needed to use every inch of his frame to get down to his left and palm Fred Onyedinma’s effort round the post with the Londoners starting to look menacing. And Lee Martin was the next to test Leutwiler with his deflected free-kick forcing the Town keeper into another fine save, flying through the air to turn the ball over the top.
All of Town’s chances came from dead ball situations with Akpa Akpro the latest unable to trouble David Forde in the Millwall goal. This was a really good test for Salop though, with Neil Harris’s men expected to be amongst the front runners to reclaim their place in the Championship next May.
With much of the goalmouth action taking place in Town’s defensive third, Agogo came to the rescue 10 minutes before half-time; heading off the line to prevent Mark Beevers nodding the opener for the away side from Martin’s flag-kick.
Half-Time: Town 0 Millwall 0
With the sunny weather still in evidence and barely a blade of grass out of place on the pristine pitch, both teams emerged from their respective dressing rooms with the same personnel.
After 55 minutes Shrews went in front. Collins popped up at the back post to turn the ball home from a tight angle after Ogogo had volleyed deftly across goal from Ryan Woods’ great crossfield pass. It was fitting that the flame haired midfield starlet had been involved in the build-up play as he hadn’t misplaced a single pass all afternoon.
The lead, however, was very brief. Onyedinma got into space on the by line and although his cross was somehow missed by Gregory, Morrison was on hand to tap home from close range with the goal gaping. Now we had a right game on our hands with the decibel levels significantly raised in the stands. Ogogo and Shaun Williams picked up quickfire yellows with the competitive edge still very much in evidence. And with more than two-thirds of the game played Millwall turned the game around when they won a penalty. Jermaine Grandison hauled down Morrison and Gregory planted the penalty high into the net with Leutwiler given no chance from 12 yards.
Mellon withdrew Martin Woods immediately for Junior Brown, a minute or so before namesake Ryan picked up a card for holding his man off in the centre circle. Akpa Akpro and Tootle soon followed with Town’s frustrations beginning to surface. Shaun Whalley and Liam McAlinden were both thrown on in an attempt to get the home side back on terms, but Millwall were starting to find gaps in Town’s defence and the superbly named Ed Upson soon had to get his head up after firing wide with Leutwiler rooted to the spot. The game had become a little niggly with the referee’s whistle all too often breaking up play with mistimed tackles all over the shop.
McAlinden’s enterprise saw his reactionary backheel volley sail over five minutes from the end and although six minutes of additional time were played, Shrewsbury barely threatened and lost at home for only the third time in the league under Mellon’s stewardship.
Full-Time: Town 1 Millwall 2