Payne goal gives Town brilliant win
Town: Dean Henderson, Ben Godfrey, Mat Sadler, Shaun Whalley (Omar Beckles 90+3), Abu Ogogo ©, Junior Brown, James Bolton, Jon Nolan (Ebou Adams 90), Aristote Nsiala, Alex Rodman, Stefan Payne (Lenell John-Lewis 77)
Subs: Craig MacGillivray, Joe Riley, Omar Beckles, Louis Dodds, Arthur Gnahoua, Lenell John-Lewis, Ebou Adams
Wigan Athletic: Jamie Jones, Nathan Byrne, Sam Morsy, Lee Evans, Ivan Toney (Will Grigg 63), Gavin Massey (Ryan Colclough 63) Alex Bruce, Michael Jacobs, Nick Powell (Gary Roberts 77), Reece James, Dan Burn
Subs: Matja Sarkic, David Perkins, Will Grigg, Gary Roberts, Terell Thomas, Noel Hunt, Ryan Colclough
Referee: Mark Heywood
Assistants: Michael Denton and Mark Griffiths
Fourth Official: Abbas Khan
Attendance: 6929 (1442)
Shrewsbury Town went to the top of League One with a heroic display at the Montgomery Waters Meadow. Wigan, like Town, had come into the game unbeaten, but a first half goal from Stefan Payne was enough to give Shrewsbury the win. Town had to soak up some pressure in the second-half, but Dean Henderson had little to do as the Town defence put their bodies on the line.
Carlton Morris is struggling with the hamstring injury that he picked up at Gillingham last weekend, so Stefan Payne leads the line. Dean Henderson has returned from England Under-21 duty and comes back into the side in place of Craig MacGillivray. With Morris out, Joe Riley comes into the 18.
It was a high tempo start from both sides as they looked to win the midfield battle. The closest Town came in the opening 10 minutes was when Alex Rodman shot wide from 20 yards after some good work on the edge of the box from Jon Nolan.
However, it was the visitors who had the best early chance when Nick Powell capitalised on a weak James Bolton back-pass. The former Manchester United forward then played a neat one-two with Ivan Toney, but Dean Henderson made himself big and Powell’s shot hit the Town ‘keepers midriff.
Michael Jacob’s had been earmarked as one to watch before the game and he went close in the 14th minute. His mazy run down the left saw him take the ball past a couple of Town men, but his shot went into the side-netting.
With 19 minutes on the clock Town produced their best moment of the game. After a decent spell of possession, Ben Godfrey slipped in Shaun Whalley on the inside left channel and the Liverpudlian winger cut inside before unleashing a curling effort, which looked destined for the top corner until Jamie Jones made an incredible flying save to tip it onto the bar.
After Wigan’s fast start Town were growing into the game and they took the lead on 26 minutes. Wigan failed to fully clear a Shaun Whalley corner allowing James Bolton to lift the ball back into the box. Toto Nsiala met the cross and his flick on was stabbed into the goal by Stefan Payne from 6 yards.
Wigan responded well to going a goal behind and for a ten minute spell Town had to defend well, but they did so, with Wigan only testing Dean Henderson once when Michael Jacobs cut in from the left, but his shot went straight into the hands of the United loanee.
Town weathered the storm well and showed their brilliant energy levels towards the end of the half with Nolan, Ogogo and Rodman all winning the ball back in positions high up the pitch. Rodman went close with an effort from 20 yards which went just over the bar, but he was then booked in first-half stoppage time when he was judged to have had his foot in a high position.
Half Time: 1-0
The tempo of the first half had been incredibly high and it didn’t appear as if it would slow down anytime soon in the opening 15 minutes of the second half. However, despite the high intensity there was little goalmouth to speak of.
However, on 60 minutes Wigan went as close as they had come all afternoon when Gavin Massey swung in a dangerous looking ball which Ivan Toney met with a diving header but his effort clipped the outside of the post and went behind for a goal-kick. It would be Toney’s last action of the match as the former Town loanee was replaced by Will Grigg.
Wigan continued to push forward, but they were restricted to half chances as Nsiala and Sadler snuffed out any danger that came their way. At the other end, a wicked free-kick from Shaun Whalley was turned over the bar by a Wigan defender with Town’s frontmen queueing up to finish.
With 13 minutes remaining Town made their first change of the afternoon as Lenell John-Lewis replaced Stefan Payne. Stefan had gone down with what looked like a sore neck half-way through the second period and it felt like the right time to bring on fresh legs.
In the final 10 minutes, Wigan threw men forward in search of an equaliser, but Town continued to put their bodies on line, with Bolton and Sadler making crucial blocks to keep out the likes of Grigg and Colclough.
With less than four minutes remaining Town gave a free-kick away in a dangerous area when Godfrey was judged to have fouled Evans on the edge of the box. Gary Roberts stepped up to take it but Dean Henderson managed to get down well to his right and turn it round the post.
As the fourth official showed five minutes of added time Town were getting deeper and deeper, so Paul Hurst decided to bring Ebou Adams on to add some more steel to the Town midfield and three minutes later brought on Omar Beckles as Town looked to shut Wigan out.
And they did just that as Lenell John-Lewis held the ball up well near the corner flag before Mark Heywood eventually blew the final whistle.