Town: Dean Henderson, Mat Sadler, Shaun Whalley (Lenell John-Lewis 90), Abu Ogogo ©, Carlton Morris (Stefan Payne 68), Louis Dodds (Ebou Adams 81), Junior Brown, James Bolton, Jon Nolan, Aristote Nsiala, Alex Rodman
Subs: Craig MacGillivray, Arthur Gnahoua, Lenell John-Lewis, Ebou Adams, Zak Jules, Niall Ennis, Stefan Payne
Rochdale: Brendan Moore, Joseph Rafferty, Kgosi Ntlhe (Joseph Bunney HT), Jim McNulty, Niall Canavan (Matthew Done HT), Harrison McGahey, Callum Camps (Jamie Allen 42), Oliver Rathbone, Bradden Inman, Steven Davies, Ian Henderson ©
Subs: Steve Collis, Jordan Williams, Matthew Done, Jamie Allen, Andrew Canon, Mark Kitching, Joseph Bunney
Referee: Andy Haines
Assistants: Nigel Smith and Christopher Ward
Fourth Official: Joe Simpson
Attendance: 5001 (328)
Shrewsbury Town made it three wins out of three for only the third time in their Football League history with a 3-2 victory over Rochdale. Dale took the lead from the spot early on, only for Town to hit back with two goals before the break. Dale got themselves back on level terms midway through the second period, again from the spot, but Stefan Payne, who joined Town on a permanent deal on Friday, scored with 15 minutes to seal the victory.
Paul Hurst stuck with the same side which performed so admirably at Wimbledon. New signing Stefan Payne, who only joined the group on Friday, starts on the bench. His replacement of Christos Shelis is the only change to last week’s 18. Joe Riley is still some way off contention, but he was working with the fitness staff before the game.
Town have started all their opening fixtures brightly and today’s game was no different with Jon Nolan driving from midfield inside the opening minute. He played a nice one-two with Alex Rodman, before unleashing a decent effort which went just wide of the post.
Rochdale hadn’t seen much of the ball in the opening stages, but with 15 minutes on the clock they had the perfect opportunity to take the lead when Nsiala slid in and brought down Bradden Inman in the box. Referee Haines awarded a penalty and Steven Davies stepped-up left footed and struck it powerfully into the top corner.
Town were presented with the perfect chance for an equaliser when Carlton Morris got in behind the Dale defence, but Moore made himself big in the Rochdale goal and Morris could only find his body with the shot.
The opening goal had really opened up the game and Town almost put themselves into worse trouble when Dean Henderson failed to get to a through ball, but Nsiala made amends for his earlier error by blocking Davies’ shot with the goal gaping.
Town were awarded a penalty of their own with 28 minutes on the clock as Shaun Whalley was brought down just inside the area. Whalley picked himself up and sent Moore the wrong way from the spot.
Just three minutes later Town should surely have made it three one when Rochdale misjudged a ball over the top and Dodds found himself in acres of space behind the Dale defence. He perhaps had too much time to think and after running 20 yards with the ball his shot was tame and Moore made the save.
However, he couldn’t keep the ball out of the net 30 second later as Town produced the best move of the match with Alex Rodman producing a delicious cross for Carlton Morris to side foot home from six yards.
As the game ticked into added time in the first-half Moore made a fine save to keep out Louis Dodds. Dodds’ initial effort was block but the ricochet fell straight to the former Vale man who unleashed a powerful half-volley, but the Dale ‘keeper got down well to his right to palm it away.
Keith Hill clearly had some harsh words for his Rochdale side at the break and they made two changes at half-time with Matt Done and Joe Bunney coming on. The changes appeared to make a difference early on with Town camped in their own half for the early stages of the second period.
Rochdale hadn’t really tested Dean Henderson, the Town stopper made an amazing save on 60 minutes when Ian Henderson’s 10 yard shot appeared to be heading for the bottom corner. Ian was already beginning to celebrate but Dean threw out a right arm and turned it round the post.
However, from the corner Rochdale were awarded a dubious penalty as Nsiala appeared to be penalised for a handball, much to the disgruntlement of the crowd. Davies once again stepped up to take it and despite Henderson diving the right way, the shot was too powerful to keep out.
With 68 minutes on the clock Town made their first change of the afternoon as Stefan Payne replaced Carlton Morris.
It was a thoroughly entertaining encounter and Town came so close to going in front again with 18 minutes left when Shaun Whalley brought the ball down brilliantly on the right hand side and his cross fell to Alex Rodman 10 yards out but Brendan Moore made another wonderful save, this time with his foot to keep out Rodman.
However, three minutes later Town did go back in front when the returning Payne outmuscled the Rochdale defence to run onto a ball over the top and he smashed it past Moore from the edge of the box, giving the ‘keeper no chance.
With Town looking to preserve their lead they replaced Louis Dodds with Ebou Adams for the final 10 minutes and then brought Lenell John-Lewis on in the final minute of normal time for Shaun Whalley. The substitutions appeared to take the sting out of the game and Town held on for a deserved victory.
Full Time: 3-2