Town 0 Plymouth Argyle 0
Shrewsbury Town suffered more away-day frustration in the South West as Plymouth Argyle took all three points from a tight encounter at Home Park.
The winning goal arrived in the first half when Reuben Reid headed in a left wing cross, despite Town having plenty of possession.
Town made two changes to the team from Southend United last Saturday.
Liam Lawrence and Cameron Gayle dropped to the bench with Ashley Vincent and Scott Vernon drafted into the starting line-up.
Manager Micky Mellon reverted back to a 4-4-2 formation with James Collins and Vernon up front, and Jean Louis-Akpa Akpro on the left of midfield.
There was also a place on the bench for young forward Josh Ginnelly.
Shrewsbury began the game positively and within a few minutes of the first whistle, Jermaine Grandison was caught late by Morgan – two former Shrewsbury team-mates – but referee Stuart Attwell gave the ex-Town striker a verbal warning rather than a yellow card after a hefty challenge.
Had it been later in the match, Morgan may well have received a harsher punishment.
Arygle did have the ball in the net on nine minutes but when the lively Reuben Reid headed in a left wing cross, his looping effort was ruled out because of a foul on Connor Goldson.
Just as the home side were starting to see more of the ball and dictate play, Shrewsbury brought out a good save from Luke McCormick who denied James Collins with his legs from just outside the six yard box after the striker had shrugged off the attention of Peter Hartley.
Shrewsbury were then fortunate to survive another scare moments later after they failed to clear a Plymouth corner.
Bobby Reid struck a sharp effort towards goal which Leutwiler was on hand to save, and Anthony O’Connor couldn’t keep his effort down with the rebound which blazed over Shrewsbury’s crossbar.
Midway through the half, after some patient Shrewsbury build-up, the always industrious Ryan Woods showed poise and precision in midfield to play a delightful ball over the top – it found the man from Toulouse, Akpa Akpro, who showed a lovely first touch to take the ball down on his chest but a combination of defender Curtis Nelson and ‘keeper McCormick managed to clear his shot away.
Referee Attwell again resisted the temptation to show a card – this time to Ryan Woods, after the Shrewsbury midfielder fouled Morgan.
The Reid connection rewards rewards for Plymouth just past the half hour when Bobby Reid, on loan from Bristol City, sent in a pinpoint cross for Reuben Reid to head in to the bottom corner from 10 yards for his sixth goal of the season, giving Leutwiler no chance in the Shrewsbury goal.
Town again managed to get themselves into good areas but it was their quality in the final third which let them down, and at times, they were too careless in possession.
And with a spring in the step of the home side, it was from a Shrewsbury attack that Plymouth broke forward looking for a second late in the half.
Bobby Reid ran from almost one end of the field to the other and when he slipped the ball through to Reuben Reid, Mickey Demetriou managed to get back and clear the ball away to safety from inside the Town penalty area.
The home side’s pressure continued with half time approaching, and Leutwiler did well to palm away a Dominic Blizzard cross from the left hand side which the Swiss ‘keeper tipped over the bar for a corner.
HALF-TIME: Plymouth Argyle 1-0 Shrewsbury Town
The excellent Rueben Reid again cased Town problems at the start of the second half weaving his way into the Shrewsbury area, his pass found Morgan, but Shrewsbury had numbers back to clear the danger.
In truth though, the early exchanges of the second half were fairly flat from both sides with little quality going forward.
That prompted Mellon to make his first change. Youth team player Ginnelly, who made his debut for Town in August as a sub against Luton, was brought on for Vincent.
The change seemed to spark Shrewsbury into life, and the increased urgency brought a fine save from McCormick when Akpra Akpro headed towards goal, but the Arygle ‘keeper somehow touched it onto the bar.
With Plymouth boss John Sherdian concerned about Town’s increased dominance, he made a first change with Morgan replaced by Deane Smalley midway through the half.
Still Shrewsbury pressed though, and again Collins was denied by the legs of McCormick from a Mickey Demetriou cross, the ball dropped to scholar Ginnelly who saw his shot from the rebound go high over the bar.
The youngster put in an impressive performance, and was always a threat on Shrewsbury’s left hand side of midfield.
With Town pushing forward they were always susceptible to the counter-attack and when Smalley found himself clear on the left, Town looked vulnerable.
Smalley went for goal, when the better option might have been to square it to Reuben Reid in the middle, and his effort was beaten away by the alert Leutwiler.
Woods, who had escaped a booking in the first half, wasn’t so fortunate after the break – with the home fans appealing for a red card after an aerial challenge, the diminutive midfielder was shown a yellow and from the resulting free kick, Bobby Reid blasted well over the bar.
A second Shrewsbury change arrived with just over 10 minutes to play. Scott Vernon, still waiting for his first league goal, was withdrawn for Jordan Clark.
Town applied plenty of pressure late on, and with four minutes of stoppage time added by the referee, the Plymouth fans endured a nervy finale.
Collins was agonisingly close to grabbing a late, late leveller but his well struck 25-yard effort whistled just over the bar with McCormick seemingly beaten.
That was pretty much the last kick of the game and the home side held on for the win.
FULL-TIME: Plymouth Argyle 1-0 Shrewsbury Town
TOWN LINE-UP: Leutwiler, Grandison, Goldson (c), Knight-Percival, Demetriou, Vincent (Ginnelly, 61’), Wesolowski, Woods, Akpa Akpro, Collins, Vernon (Clark 79’).
SUBS: Halstead, Ellis, Lawrence, Gayle, Griffith, Halstead.
PLYMOUTH LINE-UP: McCormick, Mellor, Nelson (c), Hartley, McHugh, Blizzard, B. Reid, O’Connor, Alexandra, Morgan (Smalley 66), R. Reid.
SUBS:Bittner, Cox, Norburn, Harvey, Thomas, Bentley.
GOALS: R. Reid (33’).
ATTENDANCE: 6,229 (270 Shrewsbury Town).