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Match Reports

Town 1 Blackburn Rovers 1

23 September 2017

Town settle for a point against Rove

Town: Dean Henderson, Ben Godfrey (Ebou Adams 90+1), Mat Sadler, Shaun Whalley (Louis Dodds 90+5), Abu Ogogo ©, Junior Brown, James Bolton, Jon Nolan, Aristote Nsiala, Alex Rodman, Stefan Payne (Carlton Morris 85)
Subs: Craig MacGillivray, Omar Beckles, Carlton Morris, Louis Dodds, Arthur Gnahoua, Lenell John-Lewis, Ebou Adams

Blackburn Rovers: David Raya, Derrick Williams, Richie Smallwood, Dominic Samuel, Danny Graham (Marcus Antonsson 71), Charlie Mulgrew ©, Elliott Ward, Paul Caddis, Bradley Dack, Corry Evans (Peter Whittingham 71), Elliott Bennett (Harry Chapman 71)
Subs: Jayson Leutwiler, Sam Hart, Harry Chapman, Peter Whittingham, Marcus Antonsson, Paul Downing, Lewis Travis

Referee: David Webb
Assistants: Mark Dwyer and Daniel Leach
Fourth Official: James Bell
Attendance: 8202 (1619)

Shrewsbury Town extended their unbeaten run to nine games and maintained their position at the top of the League One table thanks to a 1-1 draw against Blackburn. Town appeared to be heading for their eighth win of the season when Toto Nsiala bundled the ball home on 57 minutes, but Bradley Dack struck five minutes before the end as Town had to settle for a point.

Team News:
Paul Hurst makes one change from the side which beat Oldham Athletic last weekend. Joe Riley, who only recently returned to the team from a long term injury drops out with James Bolton coming back in after recovering from a knee injury. The rest of the 18 stays the same.

First Half:
Blackburn started the game on the front-foot and after forcing a couple of early corners, they went close to opening the scoring when Dominic Samuel was all alone 10 yards out, but his header went just wide of Dean Henderson’s left-hand post.

Town’s best work in the opening 10 minutes came down the right-hand side, with Shaun Whalley getting the better of his man on a couple of occasions. On one occasion, his cross which was only cleared as far as Abu Ogogo whose shot was blocked by a Rovers defender and Ben Godfrey skied the follow-up over the bar.

There was little to really talk about in the opening 25 minutes, although Blackburn did almost score an own goal from the most innocuous of crosses. Abu Ogogo had been set free down the right and swung a ball into an empty penalty area, but some miscommunication between Rovers ‘keeper David Raya and Elliott Ward almost led to the latter passing the ball into his own goal.

Town had grown into the game and they came close to taking the lead on the half-hour mark. David Raya attempted to punch Shaun Whalley’s corner, but his punch went straight into the air and Stefan Payne rose highest to try and head home. Payne’s header cannoned off the crossbar and Blacknburn managed to scramble the ball to safety.

At the other end Richie Smallwood headed wide after a good run and cross from Bradley Dack. Smallwood was off balance when he made the headed connection and the ball was watched behind by Dean Henderson.

Just a minute before half-time Shaun Whalley went close from distance. Stefan Payne had won a free-kick on the left edge of the box, which Whalley took. The initial cross was cleared, but only as far as Whalley who dropped his shoulder before unleashing a powerful effort which went a yard over Raya’s bar.

Half Time: 0-0

Second Half:
Much like the first-half it was Rovers who appeared to come out of the blocks a bit quicker and after a sustained spell of possession in the Town half, Derrick Williams went close when he unleashed a powerful drive from 30 yards which went inches wide of the left-hand upright.

However, Town managed to weather the storm and 12 minutes into the half the home side took the lead. A Shaun Whalley free-kick was only half-cleared and when Alex Rodman chipped it back in it caused mayhem in the Rovers box. Ben Godfrey won the first header and then a combination of Stefan Payne and Toto Nsiala manage to bundle the ball home with Nsiala getting the final touch.

Rovers were by no means out of this one and they continued to look dangerous when they came forward with pace. James Bolton had to be alert to clear well at the back-post and Toto Nsiala then made a last ditch block to keep out an Elliott Bennett shot.

With just over 20 minutes to go Town produced the best move of the match. Stefan Payne’s exquisite touch sent Jon Nolan through the middle. Nolan then returned the favour with a perfectly weighted through ball into the path of Payne who cut back onto his right foot, but his shot was well saved by Raya – low to his left.

With Town starting to get on top, Tony Mowbray decided it was time for action and he made a triple change on 71 minutes with Marcus Antonsson, Harry Chapman and Peter Whittingham all coming on for the visitors.

Two of the substitutes almost combined to produce an equaliser when Whittingham delivered a lovely left-footed which Chapman met, but his header was straight at Henderson – a yard either side would likely have produced a goal.

Town continued to look dangerous on the break with Alex Rodman having a shot well blocked, but it was the visitors who would find the next goal against the run of play when they broke well down the right. Paul Caddis fed Harry Chapman who managed to get to the by-line and pull back a cross, which Town were unable to clear and Bradley Dack was on-hand to fire home from six yards.

Following the goal, Town made their first change of the game with Carlton Morris coming on for Stefan Payne. The change almost produced a goal straight away when Morris’s cross was headed into the path of Abu Ogogo, but his volley lacked power and was easily saved by Raya.

The fourth official indicated there would be five additional minutes and in the first of those minutes Town brought on Ebou Adams for Ben Godfrey, who was struggling with cramp.

Town continued to push forward, looking for a winner, but their best chance came when Alex Rodman blazed well wide after cutting in from the left and they had to settle for a point.

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