Town: Chris Weale, Ryan Woods, Connor Goldson, Joe Jacobson, Tamika Mkandawire (c), Paul Parry (Mills, 80), Dave McAllister (Summerfield, 81), Fraser Fyvie, Jon Taylor, Tom Eaves, Bahrudin Atajic (Mendez-Laing, 59)
Subs not used: Joe Anyon, Jermaine Grandison, Dave Winfield, Asa Hall
Brentford: David Button, Tony Craig (c), Harlee Dean, Jonathan Douglas, Clayton Donaldson, Alan McCormack, George Saville, Alan Judge (Griegg, 83), Jake Bidwell, Nico Yennaris (Forshaw, 50), Marcello Trotta (Akpom, 78)
Subs not used: Richard Lee, Kevin O’Connor, Stuart Dallas, Jake Reeves
Referee: M. Heywood
Assistants: N. Hobbis, W. Smallwood
Fourth Official: M. M’Aguilar
Attendance: 4,927 (612 from Brentford)
Martin Wild reports from Greenhous Meadow
After over 10 hours of football at the Greenhous, Tom Eaves popped up right at the death to rescue a point for Shrewsbury when a seventh consecutive defeat appeared to be staring them in the face. A harsh penalty award midway through the second half saw Brentford break the deadlock with Marcello Trotta scoring from the rebound after Chris Weale had saved his initial kick. But Eaves grabbed a first goal since November and his leveller couldn’t have been more timely with the minutes ebbing away and more frustrations looming.
Caretaker boss Michael Jackson made one change to his starting line-up for this afternoon’s clash with the league leaders. Striker Bahrudin Atajic was handed his first start with Asa Hall the man to make way for the on-loan Celtic man. There were also places on the bench for recent captures Nathaniel Mendez-Laing and Joseph Mills.
Town’s first effort at goal came from a set piece and Dave McAllister might have done a little better with his header from Paul Parry’s flag kick. The midfielder nodded fractionally wide with exactly five minutes on the clock although David Button would more than likely have got across to save had it been a foot nearer.
The weather conditions at the Meadow were awful with a bitterly cold wind swirling around the stadium and plenty of rain in the air.
Atajic linked well with Eaves on the quarter hour but unfortunately his fellow striker’s first touch wasn’t the best and by the time he took the shot on, the angle was too tight. Minutes later Atajic was unlucky with a near post volley from Parry’s cross which went narrowly over, but this was more encouraging from Salop with the goal drought here now stretching beyond nine hours.
Weale made a routine stop to hold Alan Judge’s 25 yard effort in a rare Brentford attack midway through the half, although there was much to admire about the quality of the away side’s passing. And Town would soon have a lucky let-off. When Parry lost possession on the halfway line the Bees were quick to play in Trotta, but the in-form striker fired over the top when he should have at least hit the target.
The game was finely balanced and Jake Bidwell was well placed to intercept a low Parry delivery when the winger was found by Atajic’s reverse pass. The corner came to nothing but Jackson could be well pleased with the application shown by his new charges against a side with 15 wins and 2 draws from their last 17 in an unbeaten run which goes back to October.
Fraser Fyvie fired straight at Button from long range, and 60 seconds later Trotta came within inches of nudging the visitors in front with a crisp angled shot that flew across Weale, but just wide of the far upright.
Half Time: Town 0 Brentford 0
The weather had deteriorated throughout the half-time break with the icy winds and driving rain making viewing conditions thoroughly unpleasant.
Tom Eaves saw his goalbound header cleared off the line by Adam Forshaw who was covering one of the posts from another Parry corner.
Forshaw had only been on the field for three minutes but his positioning was spot-on or the table toppers would have been behind.
Jackson made his first change just before the hour with Mendez-Laing introduced for Atajic, who had shown signs of potential on his home debut. Jonathan Douglas headed into the side netting almost immediately as Brentford came close to an opener, but the gulf in class suggested by the league table hadn’t been evident throughout this match.
However, after 66 minutes Ryan Woods was ruled to have fouled Judge in the area and although Weale saved Trotta’s weak penalty – seconds after receiving a yellow card for employing time wasting tactics - the taker reacted first to knock the loose ball over the line.
After 69 minutes, a picture of lifelong supporter Michael ‘Monty’ Evans flashed up on the scoreboard, and his passing was marked with warm applause from the home fans. It brought a sense of perspective to the proceedings whatever the outcome of this football match.
With 10 minutes left Jacko made a double change with Mills replacing Parry and Luke Summerfield coming on for McAllister.
With just seconds of normal time remaining Eaves finally had a home goal to celebrate when he found the corner with a terrific shot. It was celebrated like a Cup Final winner. Town fans had waited 10 hours and 14 minutes since the last Meadow goal and the equaliser prevented that seventh straight defeat on home soil, so who could blame their barmy reaction? Could it prove to be a springboard for a change in fortunes under Jackson’s guidance?
Full Time: Town 1 Brentford 1