Town 2 Coventry City 1Shrewsbury Town came out with three more crucial points after an enthralling match at Greenhous Meadow.
First-half goals from Sullay Kaikai and Shaun Whalley cancelled out Aaron Martin’s fourth minute opener to give Town their third league win in a row, their best of the season.
Manager Micky Mellon made several changes to the side that picked up three vital points at Doncaster on Saturday. Defender Zak Whitbread, who suffered a hamstring injury at the Keepmoat Stadium, misses out and is replaced by Dom Smith. The duo of Jordan Clark and Andy Mangan also miss out as they are replaced Larnell Cole and on-loan Crystal Palace forward, Sullay Kaikai.
Meanwhile ‘keeper Jayson Leutwiler’s tight quad forces him out of the squad, with Mark Halstead replacing the Swiss stopper.
Shrewsbury and Coventry played out an entertaining match at Greenhous Meadow on Tuesday night.
Goals in the opening ten minutes set the tone as Sullay Kaikai’s neat finish cancelled out Aaron Martin’s close range effort before Shaun Whalley headed in Town’s winner six-minutes before half-time.
Both teams, well backed by their respective vocal supporters, started the game with a fast tempo, with each side looking to play an open and expansive game.
On-loan Newcastle forward Adam Armstrong, who had tormented the Town defence last time they played at the Ricoh Arena, was first to fashion an opening. But after being crowded out by the resolute Town defence, he teed up Joe Cole who shot high and wide.
Coventry, who had only one victory in their past nine league games, had started brightly, and after winning a free-kick for a shirt pull by Whalley, for which he was booked, they took the lead.
John Fleck’s was set-up to drive at the Town goal from 30-yards and as Halstead watched the ball squirm out of his hands, centre-back Martin was quickest to react and poke home the rebound.
Town, who had kept three clean sheets in a row prior to the game, were under the cosh early on and Jacob Murphy almost doubled their advantage, only to drag his shot wide when in a decent position.
It didn’t take long for Town to get themselves level as with their first real attack of the game, they equalised. The re-called Larnell Cole made a brilliant run in from the wing before playing a perfectly weighted pass into the path of Kaikai, who rounded Reice Charles-Cook in the Coventry goal before slotting into the empty net.
Armstrong continued to be a thorn in the Town side and he helped his side create a golden opportunity to re-take the lead when he won a free-kick on the edge of the box. Fleck eyed it up and his low drive deflected into the path of Chris Stokes who saw his close range effort superbly saved by Halstead.
Both teams exchanged promising counter attacks. Fleck’s delicate chip from distance ended on top of Halstead’s goal before Junior Brown’s cross was just inches to high for Cole to make contact with.
Former West Bromwich Albion striker Marc Antoine-Fortune showed some of his former Premier League class with a defence splitting pass to release Cole. But as the former Chelsea and Liverpool midfielder bore down on goal, he miscued his effort horribly wide.
Black dragged an effort wide before Town were dealt a blow, with Junior Brown pulling up with what looked like a hamstring complaint. Mat Sadler replaced the attacking full-back.
City’s Murphy continued to look dangerous and Halstead did well again to smother a near post effort after the on-loan Norwich winger was cleverly played in by Fortune.
Fleck and Murphy both sent shots Halstead’s way, with neither hitting the target before a pull back on Whalley saw Stokes go into the referee’s book, and present Town with an opportunity, which they duly took.
A wicked out-swinging cross from Black was met by Whalley, who glanced in his sixth league goal of the season and his third in three consecutive games.
As the game entered the fifth minute of injury time, Black sent a thunderous effort from distance that Charles-Cook did well to palm over from underneath his own crossbar.
HALF-TIME: SHREWSBURY TOWN 2-1 COVENTRY CITY
The second half started with another bursting Armstrong run which was halted when upended by Black, with the Scottish midfielder going into the book for the foul.
Kyle Vassell came close to opening his account for the club when Jack Grimmer’s cross found him just six-yards out, but the on-loan Peterborough striker couldn’t direct his glancing header on target.
Whalley’s short corner kick routine looked to have gone wrong when Cole lost possession on the edge of the Coventry box. But Whalley was quick to react and his curling effort from outside the penalty area had to be pushed away by Charles-Cook.
With ten minutes gone in the second-half, Coventry had an opportunity to level when Fortune laid the ball into the path of Armstrong, whose effort from just outside the penalty box was comfortable for Halstead.
Town almost made it three when Black released Cole who teased his marker before firing a low, left-footed effort at goal which Charles-Cook did well to push round the far post.
Murphy and Armstrong linked up well again but as the winger’s crossed seeked out an unmarked Armstrong, Sadler came in and made the all important clearance.
Coventry made their first substitute just after the hour mark, with Ruben Lamieras replacing Joe Cole.
Moments later, Abu Ogogo’s late tackle on Romain Vincelot presented Armstrong with another sight of goal, but his free-kick flew harmlessly over Halstead’s crossbar.
Halstead was drawn into a save when Lamieras played in Murphy, whose shot failed to beat the Town stopper at his near post.
Coventry made their second change of evening, with former Nottingham Forrest and Millwall striker Darius Henderson replacing Jacob Murphy.
Another quick City counter presented substitute Lamieras with half-a-chance, with Sadler doing well to get the block in.
Town’s first substitute of the night came with just 18 minutes left as Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro replaced Larnell Cole, with Tony Mowbray making his last change of the evening, with Vincelot being replaced by James Maddison.
Martin did well to block Kaikai’s effort after Black had disrupted a Coventry move before Armstrong saw his effort pull harmlessly wide.
A good looking counter attack for the home side was crudely interrupted by Jack Stephens on the half-way line, as Akpa Akpro looked to break away into a two on one, with the defender picking up a yellow card for his troubles.
Manager Micky Mellon made his second substitution as Jordan Clark replaced goalscorer Sullay Kaikai with just eight minutes to go.
As the game entered the last few minutes, both teams looked to attack.
Jack Grimmer’s attempts to lead a counter resulted in the right-back fouling Fleck. Substitute James Maddison’s free-kick was dangerous, but Halstead stood tall to punch away.
As the board went up to indicate four minutes additional time, the chant of ‘Salop’ rang out around the Meadow as Town continuted to repel everything Coventry could throw at them.
Vassell went close again to that elusive goal when Whalley crossed low, but fortunately for the away side, there were enough bodies to repel the danger.
As the third minute of injury time appeared, Vassell came close again. This time he left three defenders trailing his cut back as he cut inside, only to see his effort blocked by a last ditch tackle.
With the last attack of the game, James Maddison found room in the Town box to drive to the by-line. With his low cross causing panic in the Town ranks, Grimmer was able to put the ball behind for a corner which came to nothing and Town had done it. Their best run of the season continues with one of their best performances witnessed by a passionate and vocal 6000 plus crowd.
FULL TIME: SHREWSBURY TOWN 2-1 COVENTRY CITY
SHREWSBURY TOWN LINE-UP: Mark Halstead (GK), Ian Black, Kyle Vassell, Shaun Whalley, Sullay Kaikai (Jordan Clark, 82), Junior Brown (Mat Sadler, 26), Jack Grimmer, Abu Ogogo, Nathaniel Knight-Percival (C), Larnell Cole (Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro, 73), Dom Smith
UNUSED SUBS: Callum Burton, Richie Wellens, Andy Mangan, Elliot Grandin.
BOOKED: Whalley, 4, Black, 48
GOALS: Kaikai, 9, Whalley, 39
COVENTRY CITY LINE-UP: Reice Charles-Cook (GK), Sam Ricketts (C), Jack Stephens, Aaron Martin, Chris Stokes, Romain Vincelot (James Maddison, 73), John Fleck, Jacob Murphy (Darius Henderson, 68), Joe Cole (Ruben Lamieras, 63), Marc-Antoine Fortuné, Adam Armstrong.
UNUSED SUBS: Martin Lorentzson, Andy Rose, Marcus Tudgay, Corey Addai (GK).
BOOKED: Stokes, 38, Stephens, 82
GOALS: Martin, 4
REFEREE: Sebastian Stockbridge
ASSISTANTS: Andrew Hendley & Robert Jones
FOURTH OFFICIAL: Ian Dudley
ATTENDANCE: 6023 (1196 from Coventry)