Great game to see out the season, see you all in August!
Town: Chris Weale, Cameron Gayle, Joe Jacobson (c), Connor Goldson, Yado Mambo, Akwasi Asante (McGinn, 75), Luke Summerfield, Dave McAllister, Aaron Wildig (Woods, 85), Jon Taylor, Tom Bradshaw (Parry, 89)
Subs: Joe Anyon, Matt Richards, Paul Parry, James Hurst, Ryan Woods, Steve McGinn, Rob Purdie
Portsmouth: Simon Eastwood, Shaun Copper, Sam Sodje, Yassin Moutaouakil (Maloney, 75), Gabor Gyepes (Webster, 60), Johnny Ertl (c), Therry Racon, Ashley Harris, Patrick Agyemang, Dan Butler, Ged Wallace
Subs: Phil Smith, Liam Walker, David Connolly, John Akinde, Adam Webster, Nick Awford, Jack Maloney
Referee: T. Kettle
Assistants: R. Bartlett & A. Hutchinson
Fourth Official: A. Scregg
Attendance: 8,021 (1,620 from Portsmouth)
Martin Wild reports from Greenhous Meadow
Graham Turner made just one change to the side that beat Oldham in midweek for this final game of the season against relegated Portsmouth. Steve McGinn had to be satisfied with a place on the substitute’s bench with Dave McAllister earning a recall in the midfield engine room.
Despite the South Coast Club’s relegation – a third in four seasons – they were very well represented numbers wise, with their entire allocation for the Salop Leisure Stand sold out well before this game. It made for a terrific atmosphere inside a chilly Greenhous Meadow despite the hailstones that descended on the stadium just before the teams came out.
Shrews nearly found a way through after just two minutes when Aaron Wildig spotted Jon Taylor’s clever run, but his defence splitting pass carried a little too much weight and the ball ran through to Simon Eastwood in the visitor’s goal.
Four minutes later though Town did get the breakthrough and it came from the head of Connor Goldson. Taylor’s corner was well met by the home-grown centre back and he bulleted his header beyond Eastwood for a first goal at senior level. It was a special moment for the youngster and even the sun came out to celebrate, despite the Pompey fans chorusing: “We don’t care!” behind that goal.
The attendance was announced as 8,021 – easily a season’s best at the Meadow – with over 1,600 sporting the colours of the club they now own.
It was 23 minutes into the game before we saw anything of any note from Pompey but goal scorer Goldson popped up in the right place to keep out a well struck effort from Shaun Copper.
Town did have the ball in the net for a second time just past the half hour when Taylor’s shot thundered back off the chest of Eastwood, but Tom Bradshaw was one of two strikers flagged offside before he applied the finish.
Taylor, Wildig, Bradshaw and Goldson had all made decent contributions in a largely dominant Town performance but they still had only that early goal to show for their superiority.
But that superiority soon manifested itself into producing a second goal. Joe Jacobson found the net for the second time in as many matches from a deflected free-kick awarded somewhat harshly for a foul on Bradshaw. That didn’t matter to Goldson who aimed for the front post but found the far when the ball was diverted off a white Pompey shirt. Town were now on course to record back-to-back home wins for the first time in 12 months.
Gabor Gyepes headed over for the Fratton Park side from a Dan Butler flag-kick but that was as close as they’d come, and it was Salop who went in at the break with a two goal cushion.
Half Time: Town 2 Portsmouth 0
As the rains once again began to cascade down on the Greenhous at the resumption, Yado Mambo ought to have made it three-nil but he headed well over from Taylor’s well executed free-kick.
Akwasi Asante was soon to get in on the act, however, when he did grab a third for Shrews on 56 minutes. The striker had his back to goal but swivelled and found the net with another deflected shot to register his first goal in Town colours since the loan move from St. Andrew’s.
But seconds after Pompey had made their first change of the afternoon, Ashley Harris was on hand to smuggle the ball over the line after Ged Wallace’s shot had spun away from the clutches of Chris Weale. This delighted the masses of Pompey fans at that end of the ground who will have to get used to pointing their sat navs in the direction of Morecambe and Fleetwood in a few months time.
Although there was riding nothing on the game, it had been an enjoyable affair to date with a lively atmosphere and Shrewsbury playing with a freedom seldom seen on home soil this term. Weale saved well to deny Johnny Ertl as Portsmouth threatened again during their best spell of the match and still quarter of an hour to play.
McGinn came on for Asante in Turner’s first change, presumably in a bid to protect the two goal lead. But it didn’t work as Patrick Agyemang turned in Wallace’s low cross at the near post after 78 minutes. At this point, there appeared to be a real possibility of Town squandering a three goal lead here for the first time.
Ryan Woods and Paul Parry both got late run-outs before Taylor picked up an even later yellow – the first of the game – for pulling a shirt, and Pompey had just four minutes of added on time to gain a last point in League One for at least 12 months.
McGinn had a great chance to make it four when Parry played him in but Eastwood made himself big and did well to block the effort. There were no further chances for either side as Shrews ended their campaign on a high.
Full Time: Town 3 Portsmouth 2