Marcus Braddock looks at all things Shrewsbury Town
It's not been a bad week for Shrewsbury Town fans as last weeks prospect of two home games in a week turned into a reality of three points and a potential glamour draw in the Emirates F.A. Cup. The week started with the visit of Plymouth in Skybet League One, on the surface a relatively easy opposition given their league position. To say that we dominated on Tuesday evening would be an overstatement as Plymouth had a couple of decent chances but in between those we controlled the game with good contributions from the team clad in an unusual orange. The two goals came from in form duo Fejiri Okenabirhie and Greg Docherty, the latter with an angled shot through the legs of his marker from outside the box and the former after being picked out by Luke Waterfalls excellent through pass. Okenabirhie still had a bit to do and his run into the box and solid finish gave us some breathing space with over 20 minutes to play. Steve Arnold made a huge contribution to the clean sheet with some great saves including one that flicked off a defender and looked goal bound. Only his quick thinking prevented Plymouth from drawing level.
Sundays cup tie at home to Scunthorpe was against another team having a difficult season in League One. They worked hard to try and get something from the game but when they did make good chances early on, they didn't finish them. They looked like a team low on confidence in the final third and that was probably the main difference between the teams in some filthy winter weather.
It was probably the bad weather that made it difficult to see why the penalty was awarded close to the end of the game. I replayed it afterwards a few times and still couldn't see it. Admittedly the referee was closer than I was but at least I put my glasses on. Whatever your view, the excellent Steve Arnold was equal to the task and kept his second clean sheet of the week.
It was good to see Aaron Amadi-Holloway get his second goal of the season and the delight from his teammates spoke volumes. After the game, Danny Coyne mentioned how this team supports each other with much being made of Holloway's winner in the dressing room. It's a team that's really pulled together in the last few weeks as the results show and all of it's members seem to be benefiting. Fejiri Okenabirhie and Greg Docherty have rightly received recognition and adulation for their efforts, however there are so many improved performers throughout that it's almost unfair to single one or two out but that's what I'm going to do.
First of all Luke Waterfall has grown into his position alongside Mat Sadler and has given much more with assists and goals coming from his direction. Josh Laurent is another who seems to have well and truly settled in with some incisive, clever passing and quick thinking over the last few games. Even when coming on from the bench, players like Lenell John-Lewis are giving everything and he certainly isn't bashful in his approach to winning the ball!
The team looks much sharper than earlier in the season, they certainly look like they're fighting for each other going forward and falling back. Scunthorpe started the second half quickly and pushed us back but we denied them as a team rather than a defence or a group of individuals.
It feels quite odd to be talking like this when we've had no permanent manager in place and a big part of me would like to see a Coyne/Ramsey partnership continue to see how far they could push it. But as both have said they're not interested it's a pipe dream rather than a reality.
I've heard it said that our form makes it an enticing prospect for a manager to start with but whomever it ends up being is going to find it difficult to improve on five wins from six games.
There's been plenty of gossip about who might take over and whenever a name becomes popular, the individual odds have changed. Does that suggest that the bookies are as in the dark as everyone else and following unsubstantiated rumour? It looks a little like that and whilst there does seem to have been movement in certain areas, nothing seems to have been agreed with anyone. With Wednesday’s game quickly approaching, it could be that Coyne and Ramsey may get a chance to make it seven wins in eight games before a new manager takes charge.
In the absence of Eric Ramsey who is coaching the first team, Head of Development Dan Copnall was in charge of the youth team at Bury on Saturday. Town looked to be heading for a good result after they took the lead twice: Once as Ethan O’Toole rifled one in from 25 yards after about ten minutes and again when Ryan Grovesnor found time, space and the Bury net with just over an hour gone. Sadly it wasn't to be and Bury found something extra with not many minutes to go. There's an excellent match report in the news section of this website if you want further details.
In community news, Shrewsbury Town in the Community are highlighting the story of Corbin Davies, a young Town fan who is diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy. It's part of the EFL's Day of Disability that takes place today and having read and seen Corbin's story I'm proud of the clubs role in what Corbin has achieved. Don’t take my word for it though, it's there for all to see in the news section of this website.
The week ahead is an exciting one again and it starts tonight with the Emirates F.A. Cup third round draw with Town represented by ball number 50. The third round will see the introduction of the top two divisions and it usually reduces me to a giddy child as I anticipate each and every ball nervously until ours is selected.
On the pitch we're back at home on Wednesday evening with Walsall visiting us in the CheckaTrade Trophy. Saturday will see us visit Burton Albion who are just below us in League One after a patch of difficult games. The youth team don’t have a game until December 15th when they visit Accrington in the EFL Youth Alliance.