Shrewsbury Town secured their biggest win of the season as they thrashed Morecambe by five goals to nil at Montgomery Waters Meadow.
The opening 20 minutes offered little by way of talking points as both sides played the ball around without really troubling the opposition defence. Shrewsbury had seen more of the ball at this stage, however, and boasted 61% possession - they just needed to convert it into chances.
Town finally crafted a chance for themselves in the 21st minute when Josh Vela used his skill to beat Liam Gibson and drove along the by-line and into the box. He cut the ball across the face of goal to Ryan Bowman but he couldn’t keep his shot down under pressure.
Morecambe had chances in the first half, three of which offered them clear sights of goal, but they were all put high and wide of the target as Cole Stockton uncharacteristically snatched at two and Aaron Wildig put one over the bar from the edge of the six-yard box.
A slow first half eventually provided action when, in the 44th minute, George Nurse broke down the left wing and drilled the ball perfectly along the corridor of uncertainty. The low ball worked a treat as the sliding boot of Daniel Udoh turned it home – much to the relief of the stadium.
The second half began almost exactly as the first had ended as, in the 46th minute, Tom Flanagan struck an effort from the edge of the box that hit the arm of a Shrimp defender, leaving referee Darren Drysdale with no choice but to award a penalty. Luke Leahy stepped up and confidently converted the spot-kick to double Shrewsbury’s lead.
Salop’s speedy start to the second half got even better just a couple of minutes later when Leahy secured a quickfire brace with a fantastic curling effort in the 51st minute. The central midfielder collected the ball on the edge of Morecambe’s penalty spot and bent the ball into the top left-hand corner of Trevor Carson’s net.
Things just kept getting better for Shrewsbury, who made it four less than ten minutes later. Udoh chased the ball down the left-wing and turned his marker inside out before smashing the ball into the roof of the net.
The floodgates were well and truly open and Shrewsbury Town added a fifth five minutes later. Dylan Connolly fell on the ball and handballed it, conceding a free-kick that was whipped towards the back post. Arriving was Ryan Bowman, who confidently headed home his second goal in as many games.
Things settled down after that as Town controlled their lead and Morecambe consigned themselves to defeat, allowing Shrewsbury to see out their biggest win of the season with relative ease.
Salop: Marko Marosi (GK), Luke Leahy, Ethan Ebanks-Landell (C), Matthew Pennington, Tyrese Fornah, Josh Vela (Shaun Whalley, 68), Daniel Udoh (Tom Bloxham, 68), Ryan Bowman, Elliott Bennett (Joshua Daniels, 75), George Nurse, Tom Flanagan
Subs Not Used: Harry Burgoyne (GK), Aaron Pierre, Matthew Bondswell, Saikou Janneh
Morecambe: Trevor Carson (GK), Greg Leigh, Anthony O’Connor (C), Jacob Bedeau, Toumani Diagouraga, Cole Stockton, Aaron Wildig, Dylan Connolly (Jonah Ayunga, 74), Shane McLoughlin, Liam Gibson (Jacob Mensah, 84), Alfie McCalmont (Ryan Cooney, 68)
Subs Not Used: Jonathan Obika, Arthur Gnahoua, Ousmane Fane, Adam Smith
Shane McLoughlin was booked late on for dragging Tyrese Fornah back as he attempted to counter.
Referee: Darren Drysdale
Assistant Referees: Peter Gooch and Adam Ricketts
Fourth Official: Kevin Morris