Two-all draw at the Montgomery Waters Meadow
Town: Dean Henderson, Max Lowe, Ben Godfrey, Mat Sadler, Shaun Whalley, Abu Ogogo ©, Carlton Morris, Luke Hendrie (Stefan Payne 87), Jon Nolan, Aristote Nsiala, Alex Rodman (Omar Beckles 72)
Subs: Craig MacGillivray, Omar Beckles, Arthur Gnahoua, James Bolton, Lenell John-Lewis, Bryn Morris, Stefan Payne
Doncaster Rovers: Ian Lawlor, Andy Butler (Mathieu Baudry 11), Rodney Kongolo (Alfie Beestin HT), Niall Mason, John Marquis, Tommy Rowe, Ben Whiteman, Joe Wright, Jordan Houghton (Issam Ben Khemis 70), Matty Blair, James Coppinger ©
Subs: Marko Marosi, Matthieu Baudry, Liam Mandeville, Alfie May, Tyler Garratt, Alfie Beestin, Issam Ben Khemis
Referee: Anthony Backhouse
Assistants: Barry Cropp and Dean Treleaven
Fourth Official: Darren Strain
Attendance: 5818 (502)
Shrewsbury Town had to settle for a draw as Doncaster Rovers scored twice in the final half an hour to draw 2-2. Town had dominated for the opening 55 minutes with Mat Sadler and Carlton Morris both scoring from chaotic corners. However, Tuesday night’s 120 minute effort appeared to play its part as Doncaster came back to deny Town all three points.
Paul Hurst makes three changes from the side which were so heroically knocked out of the FA Cup on Tuesday night. After starting with five at the back on that evening, Hurst reverts to his favoured 4-1-4-1 formation with Luke Hendrie coming into play a right-back. Omar Beckles drops to the bench with Max Lowe favoured at left-back. The other two players to miss out are Stefan Payne and Joe Riley with Carlton Morris leading the line and Alex Rodman coming in on the left-wing.
The opening five minutes saw Doncaster camped in their own half as Town dominated the ball in the early stages. Luke Hendrie was making a good impression on his Shrewsbury debut and he put in a great early ball, which was crying out to be met at the back post, but unfortunately Alex Rodman couldn’t quite get onto the end of it.
Town then had good free-kick opportunity after Carlton Morris was brought down just outside the corner of the box by Andy Butler, who was booked for the tackle. Shaun Whalley took the set-piece and found the head of Morris, but his effort went well over the bar from 12 yards. Butler had to be substituted after being injured making the tackle.
Despite their dominance, Town hadn’t actually managed to test Ian Lawlor in the opening 20 minutes, but with 21 minutes on the clock Town would take the lead from a corner. Shaun Whalley delivered the ball in and it caused a melee in the Doncaster box. An initial effort appeared to hit the post before bouncing back to a Town shirt and Mat Salder hammered it home from close range.
Town were firmly in control of this one, but they had to keep their discipline and unfortunately Toto Nsiala found himself in the referee’s book after kicking the ball away following a foul on John Marquis. Doncaster went long with the resulting free-kick and it was the first time they had managed to get the ball in the Town box all afternoon, but Town easily cleared without Henderson being called upon.
However, Town were really in the mood on a cold afternoon in Shropshire and probably should have doubled their advantage when Ben Godfrey galloped forward from midfield before slipping the ball through to Alex Rodman in the left channel. Rodman took a touch before firing towards goal from a tight angle but Ian Lawlor was able to push it behind. The resulting corner saw Sadler have another effort at goal, but this time it went a yard over the top.
It took until the 41st minute until Dean Henderson had anything to actually do. James Coppinger’s mazy run took him past Luke Hendrie and Henderson was forced to turn his shot round the post. The resulting corner was punched away by Henderson, starting a Town counter attack that was only stopped when Alex Rodman’s cross towards Shaun Whalley was cut out by a Doncaster defender.
The half was less than a minute old when Town once against tested Ian Lawlor in the Doncaster goal. Toto Nsiala rose brilliantly at the back post to head Shaun Whalley’s header towards goal, but Lawlor made a wonderful right handed save that drew gasps from the Shrewsbury fans all around the Montgomery Waters Meadow.
The lively start to the half continued for both sides with Doncaster going close when the ball found its way to Niall Mason on the edge of the box, but the marauding full-back pulled his shot wide. Whilst, at the other end it was one of Town’s full-backs, Max Lowe, who would have a great chance to score after a brilliant mazy run, but he pulled his final shot wide form six yards.
However, Town did eventually double their lead in the 53rd minute. Nsiala once again rose highest at the back post from a Whalley corner and his knockdown caused chaos in the Rovers box, allowing Carlton Morris to swivel and volley home from eight yards.
After getting the second Town seemed to take their foot off the gas slightly and it led to their downfall as with 62 minutes on the clock Doncaster got one back. Ben Whiteman’s shot from distance was blocked behind for a corner and Town failed to deal with the delivery, allowing Mathieu Baudry to head home from just a couple of yards out.
The effects of Tuesday night’s 120 minutes looked as if they might be beginning to take their toll, so with just under 20 minutes remaining Paul Hurst turned to his bench for the first time of the afternoon and decided to change the formation in the process by bringing on Omar Beckles in place of Alex Rodman and going to five at the back.
However, with just over 15 minutes remaining Doncaster got themselves back on level terms. Ben Godfrey had cleared off the line a minute earlier from Matty Blair’s shot and the away side kept pressing. Eventually the ball came out to the left hand side and substitute Issam Ben Khemis put in a floating ball, which Dean Henderson collected from under his own goal line, before stepping back and the linesman judged that the ball had crossed the line.
With just over three minutes to go Hurst decided to bring on Stefan Payne as Town went in search of a winner, but the closest they came was from a corner, which Ben Godfrey could only glance behind.