Great battling performance from Town, but Woods & Jacobson goals weren't enough to prevent MK taking the points
Shrewsbury manager Graham Turner made two changes to the side that lost at home to Leyton Orient on Tuesday. Oldham loanee Sidney Schmeltz made his debut after agreeing a switch until the end of the season. Paul Parry dropped to the bench. Connor Goldson, recalled from his loan spell at Cheltenham came in at right-back, with Ryan Woods switched to midfield. Nicky Wroe's loan spell came to an end early and after returning to Preston, he swiftly made the move to Oxford until the end of the season. Turner adopted at 4-3-2-1 formation.
TOWN: Chris Weale, Connor Goldson (Tom Bradshaw 90), Dave Winfield, Tamika Mkandawire, Joe Jacobson, Sidney Schmeltz, Ryan Woods, David McAllister, Aaron Wildig, Jon Taylor, Tom Eaves
SUBS: Joe Anyon, Alex McQuade, John Marsden, Paul Parry, Asa Hall, Dominic Smith
MK DONS: David Martin, George Baldock, Antony Kay, Shaun Williams, Dean Lewington, Stephen Gleeson, Darren Potter, Samir Carruthers (Dean Bowditch 70), Ben Reeves, Dele Alli Daniel Powell 62), Chris Long (Izale McLeod 80)
SUBS: Ian McLoughlin, Luke Chadwick, Alan Smith, Izale McLeod, Brendan Galloway
FT: MK DONS 3 SHREWSBURY 2
Shrewsbury's mini-revival away from home came to an untimely end with defeat at Stadium:mk. Town put in a sprited and determined showing but it wasn't enough to prevent a second defeat inside four days, in a match where Shrewsbury looked more dangerous going forward but shaky at the back. Even so, Town may feel unfortunate not to claim something from an entertaining match where both sides looked capable of scoring.
Shrewsbury made the worst possible start, falling behind after just three minutes. Stephen Gleeson's deep, long diagonal cross found 17 year old Dele Alli who nipped in ahead of the Shrewsbury defence to send his header past a helpless Chris Weale. An equaliser nearly arrived immediately after though after a powerful, strong run by Tom Eaves saw him dance his way into the box, but a vital interception from Darren Potter was just enough to prevent the Bolton loanee from getting his shot towards goal.
That half-chance should have served as a warning for the home side, as Shrewsbury were behind for just four minutes. Aaron Wildig was sent clear by debutant Sidney Schmeltz, and his low cross towards the back-post was stabbed in from close range by Ryan Woods for his first professional goal.
Jon Taylor was then booked for hauling down Samir Carruthers and from the resulting free kick, Shaun Williams found Gleeson who fired a power-packed 30 yard shot just over Weale's crossbar.
Schmeltz then used his pace and trickery down the left to deliver in a low cross-cum-shot towards the far right corner, but it was well taken by 'keeper David Martin, with Wildig on hand to follow up on any loose handling from the MK stopper.
But on 20 minutes, Karl Robinson's side edged in front again when Everton loanee Chris Long touched in from close range to give the Dons the advantage. The goal was tough on Weale who pulled off a fine point-blank save from Dean Lewington's header, but the rebound fell to the striker who couldn't miss, scoring his first senior goal on his Dons debut.
Town didn't let their heads drop though and responded well. They nearly found an equaliser on the half hour mark but David McAllister was unfortunate to see his well struck shot from distance flash a few yards wide of the right hand post.
At the other end, Winfield then bravely blocked a powerful Ben Reeves shot which was almost certainly goalbound. Soon after the referee was also called into action again, with Michael Bull showing a yellow card to scorer Alli for dissent.
Close to half time, some more neat football by the Dons nearly saw a third goal. Lewington, always a menace down the left, saw his low cross find Long, but the youngster couldn't quite direct his first time effort towards goal, and it ended up hitting the outside of the post. Soon after Wildig tried an ambitious effort for Shrewsbury but his curling effort from distance was well off target, and Taylor then headed wide from Schmeltz's left wing cross.
The last action of the half saw MK go close again, this time when Weale pulled of a good save to deny Reeves from distance, the Town 'keeper got his fingertips to a stinging shot and pushed the ball around the post for a corner.
Town made a change at half time, with Asa Hall brought on for Aaron Wildig.
The first chance of the half came for Shrewsbury when Eaves did well to turn his marker, he laid the ball into the path of Taylor whose whipped in cross from the right was headed narrowly headed over by the lively Schmeltz. It capped an encouraging spell of posession for Town, who came within inches of notching an equaliser on the hour mark when McAllister headed just wide from close range. It seemed a golden chance for the Irishman, and proved to be a real let off for the Dons.
The game continued to be easy on the eye, with Weale having to be alert to push away a header from defender Antony Kay, with the game stretched and both sides looking capable of finding the net.
Robinson freshened his side up with a couple of changes in quick succession, with Daniel Powell and Dean Bowditch brought into the action - for Bowditch it was his first appearance of the season after a hip injury, and his arrival brought loud cheers from the home fans.
Those cheers got even louder when he smacked in the home side's third on 74 minutes. Little appeared to be on for the striker, but he unleashed a powerful drive from 25 yards which bounced awkwardly in front of Weale and finished up in the bottom left hand corner. He celebrated with the MK Dons medical staff.
Schmeltz, Town's best player, nearly reduced the arrears two minutes later when his first time shot sailed a few yards wide from a difficult angle - the flying Dutchman keen to impress on his first Town start.
With the game seemingly petering out, Shrewsbury set up a grandstand finish with Joe Jacobson, in a rich vein of goalscoring form this season, pulled a goal back with five minutes remaining. It was a tidy finish from the left back, stroking in from 12 yards for his fourth goal of the season after a smart build up.
Tom Bradshaw was introduced for the injured Connor Goldson at the start of five minutes of stoppage time, and despite plenty of late Town pressure they were unable to force the equaliser. Many of the hardy band of travelling supporters stayed on to applaud the away side's effort after a much improved display but Shrewsbury are still looking nervously over their shoulders at the League One relegation zone.