Town 0 Grimsby Town 0Grimsby Town: James McKeown, Richard Tait, Josh Gowling, Craig Disley, Padraig Amond (James Alabi, 86), Andy Monkhouse, Craig Clay, Jon-Paul Pittman (Omar Bogle, 76), Nathan Arnold (Alex Jones, 86), Aristote Nsiala, Conor Townsend.
Subs: Gregor Robertson, Scott Brown, Shaun Pearson, Omar Bogle, Alex Jones, Conor Henderson, James Alabi.
Bookings: Aristote Nsiala, Craig Disley, Josh Gowling
Shrewsbury Town: Jayson Leutwiler (Mark Halstead, 40), Jermaine Grandison, Liam Lawrence, Shaun Whalley, Junior Brown, Sullay Kaikai, Anthony Gerrard, Scott Vernon (Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro 80), Abu Ogogo, Nathaniel Knight-Percival, James Collins (Tyrone Barnett, 80).
Subs: Mark Halstead , Mat Sadler, Liam McAlinden, Jordan Clark, Tyrone Barnett, Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro, Dom Smith.
Bookings: Junior Brown, Anthony Gerrard, Jean-Louis Akpa Akrpo
Referee: S Stockbridge
Assistants: J Simpson and J Mainwaring
Fourth Official: C Kavanagh
Attendance: 3,366 (75 from Shrewsbury)
Shrewsbury boss Micky Mellon made two changes for the FA Cup Second Round clash against Grimsby Town at Blundell Park. Club captain Liam Lawrence came in for the suspended Ian Black after his dismissal against Walsall and Shaun Whalley was brought in for the injured Larnell Cole.
Both sides knew before the game started that the prize for the winners was a trip to Cardiff City in the third round.
The hosts got off to a lively start and after Jayson Leutwiler cleared a long ball into touch, Junior Brown went into referee Stockbridge’s notebook for a late challenge. The resulting free-kick was whipped in by Conor Townsend but Anthony Gerrard was there to clear over the bar for a Mariners’ corner.
Grimsby forced another early corner after a cross from Nathan Arnold fell to Padraig Amond, but his shot from 15 yards was blocked by Anthony Gerrard. The home crowd were really getting behind their side but the Salop defence were holding firm.
Town had their first sight of the Grimsby goal on eight minutes after forcing a corner. Shaun Whalley whipped the ball in and it was met by Gerrard but his header was held by James McKeown under his own crossbar.
The Mariners continued to force the pace of the game and after 10 minutes had another sight of Leutwiler’s goal. Former Salop midfielder Craig Disley fed Townsend who was upended by Shaun Whalley. The resulting free-kick was cut back to Craig Clay but his right-footed shot sailed harmlessly wide.
Town were still causing problems for the home side’s defence and when a Sullay Kaikai cross found Scott Vernon, James Collins was first to his cut back and the shot was only stopped by a last ditch block from a Grimsby defender. The resulting corner was again met by Gerrard who this time failed to test McKeown.
Leutwiler was forced into his first serious save on 20 minutes. Jon-Paul Pittman picked the ball up 25-yards out and after cutting inside he tried to bend the ball left-footed inside the post, but the big stopper was there to palm the ball to safety.
The Mariners almost took the lead just short of the half hour mark. Jon-Paul Pittman clipped a ball through to Amond and his volley on the turn beat Leutwiler but appeared to clip the bar on its way over and into the noisy Grimsby fans behind that goal.
There were loud shouts from the home fans for a penalty when Amond and Townsend combined. The latter was in a race with Leutwiler to get to the ball and the Swiss bravely spread himself at the attacker’s feet and got there in the nick of time to push the ball behind for a corner. But it came at a cost as both men stayed down and it signalled the end of Leutwiler’s night as he was taken from the field on a stretcher after a delay of several minutes.
The corner was swung in by Arnold and Mark Halstead was called into immediate action, pushing the ball away from under his bar.
Six minutes were added on but neither side could break the deadlock in a blustery first 45 minutes at Blundell Park.
Half-time: Grimsby Town 0-0 Shrewsbury Town
Town got the game restarted and almost took the lead within a minute. A deep cross from the left from Junior Brown was headed across goal by Whalley and after spilling the ball, McKeown did well to recover and block Scott Vernon’s effort at the expense of a corner which came to nothing.
The home side then went straight up the other end and forced a corner. It was taken short to Nathan Arnold who put in a teasing cross and Aristote Nsiala rose to nod the ball just past Mark Halstead’s left hand post.
It had been a lively start to the second period with both sides coming out of the traps well.
The home side were continuing to put pressure on Town and when Richard Tait embarked on a mazy run, beating a couple of Salop defenders, Halstead was pleased to see his shot creep wide of the far post.
Shaun Whalley was starting to cause the Grimsby side problems and ex-Salop man Craig Disley went into the book after tripping the former Southport man midway inside the Mariners’ half.
Grimsby nearly took the lead on 62 minutes when a right footed cross from Townsend deceived Halstead and cannoned back off the bar. The ball was scrambled behind for a corner which then came to nothing.
The game was really livening up and Salop should have gone in front when Scott Vernon found himself through on goal. He tried to round McKeown but the keeper stood firm and blocked the striker’s progress.
Halstead showed his qualities on 67 minutes. Townsend hit a sweet left footed free-kick from 25 yards that looked destined for the top corner but the former Blackpool man flung himself across his goal and pushed the ball away for a corner.
Town had another sight of the Grimsby goal on 72 minutes. Jermaine Grandison clipped a ball up towards James Collins but a Grimsby defender beat him to it. The ball dropped to Kaikai who tried a volley from 25 yards which flew wide of the upright.
Grimsby almost stole the win with an excellent effort. Disley and Monkhouse combined down the left and the ball was cut back to Clay. His first time shot with the outside of his right boot flew inches wide of the post with Halstead at full stretch.
Four minutes of stoppage time were added and Salop had a chance deep into those. Tyrone Barnett spun on the ball 20 yards out and hit towards goal but McKeown was equal to it.
Neither side could find another chance and the referee brought the game to a close. The two teams will go again at the Greenhous Meadow for the right to travel to Cardiff City.
Full-time: Grimsby Town 0-0 Shrewsbury Town