Town 0 Crewe Alexandra 1Town: Jayson Leutwiler, Matt Tootle, Jermaine Grandison, Mark Ellis, Nat Knight-Percival, Abu Ogogo (James Collins, 75), Mat Sadler (Sullay Kaikai, 67), Tyrone Barnett (Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro, 61), Liam Lawrence (c), Larnell Cole, Jordan Clark
Subs not used: Mark Halstead (GK), Shaun Whalley, Ian Black, Sam Patterson
Crewe Alexandra: Ben Garratt, Oliver Turton, Harry Davis (c), Ben Nugent (George Ray, 60), Chris Atkinson, Brad Inman (John Guthrie, 46), Lauri Dalla Valle (Marcus Haber, 66), David Fox, Adam King, Stephen Kingsley, Ryan Colclough
Subs not used: Dave Richards, George Cooper, James Baillie, Harry Wilson
Referee: Andrew Madley
Assistants: Marvyn Amphlett and James Mainwaring
Fourth Official: Peter Gooch
Attendance: 5,481 (667 from Crewe)
Martin Wild reports from Greenhous Meadow
Shrewsbury’s woes on their home ground continued this afternoon with a 1-0 defeat against bottom of the table Crewe Alexandra. It was a fifth successive league reverse at the Greenhous Meadow, and fourth of the season so far in SKY Bet League One. Adam King plundered the only goal of the game in the first minute as the Cheshire side recorded their first league win, with a mixture of good fortune and tremendous desire.
There were no changes to the Town starting XI with Micky putting his faith in the players that had brought three points back from Southend last week. But his most recent captures – Ian Black and Sullay Kaikai – were both named amongst the substitutes.
There was an explosive start to proceedings with the visitors taking the lead in just 59 seconds. Jermaine Grandison’s hesitancy was clinically punished when he was dispossessed on the halfway line, and top scorer King picked out the bottom corner to stun the home crowd. Shrews looked rattled and Jayson Leutwiler was rooted to the spot when Brad Inman fired just wide five minutes later as Crewe kept their foot on the gas.
Shrewsbury did have a reasonable chance when ex-Crewe man Matt Tootle played a ball into Larnell Cole’s feet and the young striker – making his debut appearance on home soil – brought a decent save out of Ben Garratt, who plunged to his right to hold onto the ball.
Chris Atkinson brought a routine stop out of Leutwiler before Jordan Clark found the top of the bar for Town, after he’d been presented with a really good opening from Tyrone Barnett’s lay-off on the edge of the box. And midway through the half Clark turned provider with a smashing cross that picked out Abu Ogogo only for the midfielder to head over unchallenged central to goal. Town were creating chances and Mat Sadler’s volley was saved by Garratt as the hosts enjoyed their best spell of the match. And soon after, Barnett should have levelled when he got in behind the Crewe defence, but his first touch was a heavy one and the chance was lost.
Much of the game was now being played out in the opposition half and Tootle volleyed a mile wide as Shrews continued to press forward. Clark shot straight at Garratt but with half-time fast approaching, Town had been unable to make the breakthrough that their territorial advantage might have deserved.
But in first-half injury time they were almost hit with the classic sucker punch when Brad Inman went on a surging run down the left and deep into the danger zone. His switch inside to Ryan Colclough looked destined to bring a second for the Alex, but Tootle got in a vital interception to save the day. There was still enough time for Clark to hook a left foot volley wide for the hosts, with the game still very finely balanced at the halfway stage and Town unfortunate not to be level.
Half-Time: Town 0 Crewe Alexandra 1
At the resumption Town had a glorious opportunity in the opening couple of minutes when Clark fed Cole, but Harry Davis stuck out a leg as the youngster opted to take the ball past him instead of shooting first time.
Garratt picked up a yellow for time wasting – a caution that could have come at any stage in the game such was the blatancy from the goalkeeper. The ironic cheers that accompanied the referee’s decision emphasised what the home fans made of it.
Around the hour marker Town made their first change and it came moments after Mark Ellis had made a superb block, repelling Lauri Dalla Valle to concede a corner. Barnett was withdrawn and Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro was the man sent on to replace him. And with two-thirds of the game completed, Kaikai made his debut with Sadler coming off as Town struggled to replicate their first-half dominancy. The Railwaymen had seldom looked troubled since the turnaround but Kaikai’s first touch was to have the right-back on toast before seeing his cross deflected behind. It immediately lifted the home crowd who were still waiting to see a first point at GM for their side this season.
With 18 to play JLAA chested down brilliantly to give Cole a sight of goal, and his effort looked destined to ripple the bottom corner of the net. But Garratt got down well to lay a firm glove on the ball and palm the shot wide. James Collins was given the last quarter of an hour for Ogogo with just about as much ammo as Town could possibly muster now on the field, in the hope of turning around their fortunes.
Kaikai was already catching the eye with his twists and his turns and it looks like there’ll be plenty of excitement provided from the Crystal Palace loanee in the months ahead.
Seven minutes from time and it really should have been goodnight nurse for Salop. Atkinson skipped away down the left hand side and put a goal on a plate for sub Marcus Haber. Unmarked and about eight yards out, the lanky striker somehow managed to head over. It was a terrible miss and left Shrewsbury still in with a shout when really they should have been dead and buried.
But despite six minutes of added on time, the white wall held and The Railwaymen and their hardy bunch of supporters at the right hand end of the stadium finally had something to celebrate.
Full-Time: Town 0 Crewe Alexandra 1