Good workout for Town but Hibs shows how to finishShrewsbury Town: Jayson Leutwiler, Joe Riley, Junior Brown, Gary Deegan, Olly Lancashire, Ryan McGivern, Shaun Whalley (Ethan Jones, 52), Abu Ogogo, AJ Leitch-Smith, Louis Dodds, Jim O’Brien (c).
Subs: Callum Burton, Andy Mangan, Ian Black, Callum Grogan, Mat Sadler, Ethan Jones, Adam El-Abd.
Goals: Jim O’Brien, 55
Hibernian: Ross Laidlaw, Darren McGregor, Lewis Stevenson (Callum Crane, 71), Paul Hanlon (c), Liam Fontaine, Scott Martin (Sam Stanton, 71), John McGinn (Jordan Foster, 67), James Keatings (Daniel Carmichael, 73), Grant Holt (Martin Boyle, 67), Jason Cummings (Olly Shaw, 80), Alex Harris.
Subs: Otso Virtanen, Callum Crane, Jordan Foster, Daniel Carmichael, Martin Boyle, Sam Stanton, Olly Shaw.
Goals: Liam Fontaine, 4; Grant Holt, 6; Jason Cummings, 61; James Keatings, 63
Referee: Bobby Madley
Assistant Referees: Nick Hopton and Matt Sowerby
Fourth Official: Mark Groves
Attendance: 2,007 (469 from Hibernian)
Scottish Cup holders Hibernian ran out 4-1 winners at the Greenhous Meadow in Micky Mellon’s side’s final pre-season game ahead of the League One campaign opener against MK Dons on Saturday.
The Scottish Championship side were the first to fashion a sight of goal when in the second minute John McGinn dispossessed Shaun Whalley. McGinn looked to cut the ball back to former Town hitman Grant Holt who was charged down bravely by Ryan McGivern, but the ball fell to James Keatings who saw his effort blocked by Junior Brown.
And the Scottish Cup holders converted their strong start into an advantage when they took the lead two minutes later. Holt was fouled by Lancashire and Keatings swung the free kick in. Liam Fontaine beat Jayson Leutwiler to the ball and powered a header against the bar before it bounced back and hit the unfortunate Joe Riley and went in. The goal was however credited to the big centre half.
Town hardly had time to react before it was two nil after six minutes. It was that man Grant Holt who doubled the Edinburgh side’s lead. A cross was clipped in from the right hand side and the striker powered an angled header past the despairing dive of Leutwiler and into the bottom corner of the net.
Town didn’t let their heads go down and almost responded immediately through Louis Dodds. A cross was half cleared to the former Port Vale man who hit a sweet volley from 20 yards which Ross Laidlaw had to parry away in the Hibs goal. And just a minute later a teasing Joe Riley cross saw AJ Leitch-Smith just inches away from connecting and surely reducing the arrears.
At the other end, Jayson Leutwiler had to be alert after 14 minutes to keep the score down to two. A Keatings corner was met with a powerful downward header which looked to be bouncing up and into the roof of the net. But the Swiss stopper was awake to the danger and tipped the ball over the bar.
Town carved out a good chance on 26 minutes after some good work down the right. Joe Riley fed Shaun Whalley who clipped a delicious cross over Laidlaw in the Hibs goal towards the back post. Junior Brown rose highest but his header was blocked and Laidlaw was able to collect the loose ball.
Laidlaw kept the score at two nil on the half hour mark with an excellent point blank stop from Dodds. Olly Lancashire clipped a ball over the top of the Hibs defence and Dodds let the ball sit up before hitting a powerful volley towards goal. Laidlaw spread himself Peter Schmeichel-esque and managed to smother the ball out for a corner.
Hibs should have extended their lead on 40 minutes after Holt again won a free-kick in a dangerous position. Keatings whipped in a delicious ball with his left foot and Fontaine was there again but this time he glanced his header just wide of Leutwiler’s far post.
Half-time: Shrewsbury Town 0-2 Hibernian
Both sides were unchanged after the break as Town got the final 45 minutes of their pre-season campaign underway before the big League One kick-off against MK Dons at the Greenhous Meadow next Saturday.
Town started the second half well and it looked like they should have had a penalty on 48 minutes but referee Bobby Madley thought otherwise and booked Whalley for simulation despite it looking like the winger was clipped as he entered the box on the right-hand side.
Hibs almost extended their lead a minute later when a cross from Alex Harris was blocked by McGivern but his clearance came off his studs and just inches wide of Leutwiler’s near post. The resulting corner was well dealt with by the Town defence.
Town deservedly halved the deficit on 55 minutes with a set-piece of their own. Gary Deegan drove forward and fed Ethan Jones who exchanged passes with AJ Leitch-Smith. He found Junior Brown who was upended 20 yards from goal. Skipper Jim O’Brien took the resulting free-kick into the far corner of the Hib’s net for his first goal in Town colours. The shot may have taken a slight deflection but it looked in from the moment it left the former Coventry man’s right foot.
Minutes later, Hibs restored their two-goal advantage in somewhat fortunate circumstances. Deegan came short to collect the ball from Leutwiler but the combative midfielder slipped which allowed Jason Cummings a free run on the Town goal. With Leutwiler advancing, Cummings slipped the ball past the keeper and into the back of the net.
And it was four for the Scottish side just two minutes later and this time it was a lovely worked goal. McGinn found Keatings inside the box and he lifted a half volley over Leutwiler who got a hand to it but the ball dropped almost apologetically into the far corner.
Former Town man Holt left the field to a warm round of applause on 67 minutes when he was replaced by Martin Boyle. A flurry of Hibernian substitutions took the flow out of the game but the boys in blue and amber refused to let their heads drop as they looked for a way back into the game.
Despite the changes, Hibs nearly made it five in the 79th minute. The ball was laid back to Paul Hanlon 20 yards out who bent a shot towards the top corner. Leutwiler threw himself to his left and the ball evaded him but thankfully for Town hit the pole behind the Pro-Vision CCTV Stand goal.
Town continued to battle and tried to find a second goal but the Hibs backline stood firm and referee Madley brought the game to a close. When Town next take to the Greenhous Meadow turf it will be for the real deal and the League One opener against MK Dons.
Full-time: Shrewsbury Town 1-4 Hibernian