Nolan strike gives Town the win
Town: Dean Henderson, Mat Sadler, Omar Beckles, Shaun Whalley, Abu Ogogo, Carlton Morris (Lenell John-Lewis 88), James Bolton, Bryn Morris (Ben Godfrey 78), Jon Nolan, Aristote Nsiala, Alex Rodman (Stefan Payne 88)
Subs: Craig MacGillivray, Joe Riley, Ben Godfrey, Louis Dodds, Arthur Gnahoua, Lenell John-Lewis, Stefan Payne
Blackpool: Ryan Allsop, Kelvin Mellon, Clark Robertson, Jimmy Ryan © (Armand Gnanduillet 70), Sean Longstaff (Danny Philiskirk 70), Curtis Tilt, Viv Solomon-Otabor, Colin Daniel, Callum Cooke, Nathan Delfouneso (Scott Quigley 81), Jay Spearing
Subs: Ben Williams, Andy Taylor, Will Aimson, Sessi D’Almeida, Armand Gnanduillet, Danny Philiskirk, Scott Quigley
Referee: Andy Woolmer
Assistants: Steven Meredith and Robert Merchant
Fourth Official: Joe Hull
Attendance: 5620 (329)
Jon Nolan’s superb 54th minute side was enough to give Shrewsbury a 1-0 win and keep them second in Sky Bet League One. The first-half was a drab affair as both sides cancelled each other, but 10 minutes after the break Nolan picked the ball up 40 yards out before unleashing a powerful shot into the bottom corner from just outside the box. Town had opportunities to double their lead as the half wore on, but they will be happy to get back to winning ways for the first time in the league since mid-November.
Paul Hurst makes two changes to the side which drew 1-1 away at MK Dons last week. The Morris’, Carlton and Bryn, come into the team in place of Stefan Payne and Ben Godfrey. It means that Town stick with the 4-1-4-1 formation that has served them well this season with Carlton leading the line and Bryn playing in the holding midfield role.
It was Town who made the faster start and both Alex Rodman and Carlton Morris had decent early runs which troubled the Blackpool defence, but on both occasions the visitors were able to deal with the crosses into the box. However, Town’s high pressing game was making life difficult for Blackpool who were struggling to get their passing game going.
Despite Town’s early dominance it was Dean Henderson who had to make the first real save of the game just after the quarter of an hour mark when a Jay Spearing free-kick flicked off the head of a Town man and it would have been dropping into the top corner had Henderson not been alert to tip it over the bar.
An injury to Curtis Tilt had taken a bit of energy out of the game, but James Bolton brought it back to life when he intercepted a Blackpool pass and ran 40 yards. He then played a sideways pass to Jon Nolan who decided to shoot left footed from 20 yards but it went a couple of yards over the bar.
The game was a really scrappy affair with both sides struggling to string a prolonged series of passes together, whilst Andy Woolmer’s whistle was also taking some damage as both sides gave away some unnecessary free-kicks that took the fluency out of the game, meaning neither side created any clear cut chances in the first 45 minutes.
After a ponderous first-half, the visitors created an opportunity inside a minute of the second-half as Nathan Delfouneso found space in the box, but his shot went wildly wide. Whilst at the other end, Shaun Whalley got in behind the Blackpool defence but his cross couldn’t find blue and amber shirt.
Blackpool’s staff were then up in arms when Andy Woolmer waved away cries for a penalty when Kelvin Mellor went down in the box and their feelings weren’t made any better when Town took the lead a couple of minutes later. Jon Nolan picked the ball up 40 yards from goal and he ran 20 yards with the ball before unleashing a powerful left-footed shot, which had too much pace for Ryan Allsop and it settled in the bottom corner to give Town the lead on 54 minutes.
After Town had taken the lead, Blackpool had done very little in the way of creating chances, so with almost 70 minutes gone Jimmy Ryan and Sean Longstaff were replaced by Danny Philliskirk and Armand Gnanduillet. The changes meant that Blackpool now had four strikers on the pitch.
The changes appeared to make a different for the visitors and they forced two corners in the space of five minutes, but Town were able to deal with both and the second almost led to a goal on the counter attacked as Abu Ogogo scooped it into the path of Whalley who ran over halfway before playing in Alex Rodman and Rodman did well to get past the first defender, but Kelvin Mellor, Blackpool’s last man got back and forced Rodman wide, ending the move in the process.
James Bolton then had a good opportunity to add a second when he met a Shaun Whalley corner. Bolton was all alone eight yards out but his header went wide of the left-hand post.
At the other end, Carlton Morris was shown a yellow card for a foul as he tracked back and the resulting free-kick almost created an opening for the visitors as a Blackpool player attempted an overhead kick but it lacked power and Henderson held on with ease.
With just three minutes to go Carlton Morris went down holding his leg and Paul Hurst decided to make a double change. Lenell John-Lewis replaced the hobbling Morris whilst Stefan Payne came on in place of Alex Rodman.
As the game ticked into stoppage time, Jon Nolan almost scored a spectacular goal when he noticed Allsop off his line and unleashed a dipping shot from around 40 yards out on the right touch line. The shot looked ambitious at first but it almost caught Allsop out and he had to make a brilliant diving save to tip it over the bar.