We continue our review of the 2016/17 season with a look at AugustThere was real excitement amongst the 5,452 fans who attended Town’s first league game of the season against MK Dons. Dons had been relegated from the Championship in the previous season and many saw the game as a way of judging where Town were at compared with last year. Micky gave starts to eight of his nine summer signings, with Olly Lancashire being forced to sit on the bench. Town performed well on the opening day with AJ Leitch-Smith and Louis Dodds rekindling their Port Vale partnership, but they would be made to rue missed chances as Dons scored the only goal of the game when Abu Ogogo lost the ball in the box and Daniel Powell fired home on 73 minutes to give the Milton Keynes based side the win.
Town didn’t let the defeat get to them and they produced one of their best displays of the season next time out as they took on Huddersfield Town of the Championship in the League Cup. Ivan Toney had signed on loan from Newcastle the day before, but he was forced to start from the bench as AJ Leitch-Smith registered his first competitive goal as a Town player in what was one of the fastest goals every scored by a Town player when his deflected shot beat Danny Ward after less than 20 seconds. Huddersfield came back well and dominated the ball for much of the first half, scoring through Elias Kachunga. However, Town battled hard in the second half and scored the winner through Louis Dodds after some good work from substitute Ethan Jones down the right.
Town’s steady start to the season continued when they drew 0-0 against Coventry City next time out. Jim O’Brien had a good chance to win it for Town just before the end, but they were forced to settle for a point in what was an uninspiring game at the Ricoh. Town faced their second relegated club of the season in their third league game of the campaign and they were blown away by Charlton Athletic as Ricky Holmes scored twice, including a goal direct from a corner, and Johnnie Jackson got the other and three goals in the space of 10 first half minutes blew Town away.
Despite the poor performance at Charlton, Town quickly put things right in their next game at home to Chesterfield. The Spireites came to the Greenhous Meadow sitting top of the league and they started brightly with Jay O’Shea scoring on 14 minutes, but Town hit back through Junior Brown and Captain Adam El-Abd popped up with a header five minutes before the end to give Town all three points.
After the win against Huddersfield, Shrewsbury had been drawn away at Premier League side Sunderland in the Second Round. 271 Town fans made the trip to the Stadium of Light hopeful of seeing Town produce another of their cup giant killings that had become so common place under Micky Mellon. Sadly it wasn’t to be as Town battled incredibly hard only for Adnan Januzai to pop up with the winner on 83 minutes and break Town hearts.
However, Mellon’s side could take confidence from their performance against higher league opposition and they appeared to be doing so as they blew Gillingham away in the first half of their next league game. Louis Dodds appeared to be enjoying life at Town and he scored his second and third goals for the club in a strong first half showing. However, a poor second half showing saw Gillingham score twice through Emmanuel-Thomas before Max Ehmer scored a 93rd minute winner.
The final game of August saw Town play in their first fixture of the Checkatrade Trophy. The competition had been revamped for the 2016/17 season and Shrewsbury were placed in a group alongside Cambridge United, Scunthorpe United and Middlesbrough Under-21s. League Two side Cambridge visited the Meadow and Town produced one of their poorest displays of the season to be beaten 1-0 by a side that were sitting bottom of the Football League at the time.