Second half fight back from Town but it wasn't enough
TOWN: Mark Halstead, Mat Sadler, Zak Whitbread, Ian Black, Shaun Whalley, Sullay Kaikai, Jack Grimmer, Abu Ogogo (James Wallace, 56), Andy Mangan, Nathaniel Knight-Percival (C), Larnell Cole (Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro, 56).
Subs not used: Jayson Leutwiler, Richie Wellens, James Wesolowski, Jack Hendry, Dominic Smith, Callum Burton
GOALS: Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro, 72; Andy Mangan, 82
BOOKED: Shaun Whalley, Ian Black
SENT OFF: Ian Black (Two yellows)
Peterborough: Mark Tyler, Michael Smith, Gabriel Zakuani, Jack Baldwin (C), Marcus Maddison, Leonardo Da Silva Lopes, Lee Angol, Christopher Forrester (Callum Chettle, 80), Shaquile Coulthirst (Aaron Williams, 89), Adil Nabi (Jon Taylor, 72), Harry Toffolo.
Subs not used: Dion-Curtis Henry, Erhun Oztumer, Ricardo Almeida-Santos, Harry Beautyman.
GOALS: Jack Baldwin, 42, Lee Angol, 46, 69
BOOKED: Baldwin, Lopes
Referee: Graham Salisbury
Assistants: J. Simpson and K. Mattocks
Fourth Official: J. Johnson
Attendance: 6019 (494 from Peterborough)
There was to be no end of season home victory for Town and their supporters but plenty of entertainment as Peterborough edged out a seven-goal thriller.
Despite the defeat, results elsewhere ensured that Town had guaranteed their place in the league and can look forward to another season in League One.
Goals from Jack Baldwin and a Lee Angol double had put Posh in control but a spirited fight back from Town saw them level the game in the 90th minute when Jack Grimmer added to goals from Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro and Andy Mangan, before former Salop player Jon Taylor broke hearts in the fifth minute of added time to steal the points for Posh.
Manager Micky Mellon made four changes from the side that lost 2-1 to Walsall in midweek. Striker Andy Mangan and midfielders Ian Black and Larnell Cole replaced Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro, Jack Hendry and James Wesolowski respectively in a 4-2-3-1 formation. Goalkeeper Jayson Leutwiler was replaced by Mark Halstead shortly before kick-off.
A carnival like atmosphere welcomed both sides as the game kicked-off, with inflatable balls, bananas and balloons blew around the Greenhous Meadow.
Town started like their manager had asked them to – at full speed. Shaun Whalley’s pace in particular looking threatening down the right-hand side.
But the Posh, managerless since Graham Westley’s departure last week, are a side that possess a lot of attacking power. And that was on show with Marcus Maddison who ran a good 20-yards before firing wide of Mark Halstead’s goal – which was still swarmed in inflatable balloons.
Larnell Cole was finding himself in some early promising positions and was unlucky to see his shot deflect wide following Ian Black’s pass.
Minutes later it was Black who had the chance to grab the opening goal when he bore down on the Posh backline but with options either side, the Scot chose to go it alone and his effort was blocked by Zakuani.
With 20 minutes on the clock, Town fans thought they had found a breakthrough when on-loan Sullay Kaikai took aim from a free-kick 25-yards out which was brilliantly tipped onto the bar from ‘keeper Mark Tyler.
Cole fired in another effort from distance, this time with a rasping left foot drive before Cole himself played in Kaikai on the left who cut inside and curled inches wide of the far post.
Black saw his left-footed effort drag wide before the first substitution of the day saw the linesman replaced by the fourth official.
With six minutes to go till half-time Posh showed their counter-attacking capabilities as Toffolo tormented Grimmer on the left before slipping in Maddison who went down before the ball landed to Leonardo Da Silva Lopes, who drilled the ball straight at Halstead.
If that was a warning from the visitors then their next attack was a sucker punch as Jack Baldwin headed home Adil Nabi’s corner to give the visitors the lead.
Maddison came close to doubling the lead but his teed up volley floats wide with Halstead at full stretch.
As the game entered added time, Town had two quick chances to get themselves level.
Firstly Cole teased Zakuani before cutting back to Mangan whose strike was beaten away by Tyler before Kaikai’s chip found Mat Sadler in space, but his volley flew narrowly over.
HALF-TIME: SHREWSBURY TOWN 0-1 PETERBOROUGH UNITED
Within seconds of the re-start the visitors doubled their advantage as Shaquile Coulthirst drove at the Town defence before slipping in Angol who side-footed the ball between the legs of Halstead.
Town were rocked by the goal and only a last-ditch tackle from Sadler stopped Angol from doubling his tally.
Micky Mellon made a double switch as he looked to find a way back into the game, with Abu Ogogo and Cole making way for James Wallace and Akpa Akpro.
Wallace was straight into the action as Mangan teed him up for a strike from distance that deflected narrowly wide.
As Town looked for a way back, the visitors were finding gaps and after 69 minutes Angol looked to have made the game safe when he made it 3-0 as Nabi waltzed his way through the Town defence before playing in Angol who drove the ball into the bottom corner.
With the away fans in full voice Coulthirst almost got another when he wrong footed Nathaniel Knight-Percival before Zak Whitbread got across to deflect his shot over.
With 20 minutes remaining the ground was full of warm applause for ex-Salop player Jon Taylor who came on for Posh. And that warm applause got slightly hotter as substitute Akpa Akpro curled home from the edge of the box to give the Town fans just a glimmer of hope.
Halstead had to be alert at the other end to deny Coulthirst again with Taylor playing him in before the former Salop winger tried an audacious chip that narrowly landed the wrong side of Halstead’s goal.
With five minutes remaining Town grabbed another goal to give themselves real hope. Akpa Akpro found space on the right wing to cross for an unmarked Mangan who headed home from 8-yeards.
Belief filled the Meadow as the seemingly impossible was deemed possible.
Halstead had to be alert to deny Maddison’s curling effort before Town did the unthinkable and levelled the game, in the 90th minute.
Grimmer made an interception in his own penalty area before bursting up the pitch and switching the ball out to the left wing where Akpa Akpro beat his man and dinked in a cross for the right back to power his header home, much like his last-minute winner against Sheffield Wednesday earlier in the season.
But as quickly as hope of a fairytale three points, that would ensure Town’s safety, spread around the Meadow, it was dashed as old boy Taylor drilled his left-footed effort past Halstead in the fifth minute of added on time.
Town rallied again but Black’s determination to win the ball back for his team was deemed unfair by the referee, who handed out a second yellow card to the midfielder, who will now miss the last game of the season at Swindon next weekend.
Town pushed but ultimately there was not enough time to find an equaliser and the point they so richly earned was painfully snatched away.
FULL-TIME: SHREWSBURY TOWN -3-4 PETERBOROUGH UNITED