Accrington Stanley 2 Shrewsbury Town 2
There were three changes to the Shrewsbury side that were defeated by Bury 4-2 a fortnight ago. Dan Walker, Ethan O’Toole and Ryan Grosvenor were replaced by Archie Elmore, Kian Taylor and Rhys Davies who starts his first game since returning from his loan spell at Nuneaton Borough five days ago. Callum McKenzie took charge of the team after Eric Ramsay left to become a first-team coach with the first team.
Despite the weather warning and freezing conditions, Shrewsbury’s game at Accrington Stanley went ahead fifteen minutes earlier than the scheduled 11am start. The home team created the first few real chances on goal, with captain Harry Perritt finding a cross into the box but was unable to find a teammate and Lewis Gilboy also found himself in front of goal in the minutes that followed but Town defender Luke Ward made a vital block to deny Stanley taking an early lead.
Accrington continued to apply the pressure to the away team but a strong display by both Ward and Edan Sears prevented any players from getting in front of Sam Agius’ goal and managed to gain possession for their team on many occasions. Shrewsbury had a goal scoring opportunity of their own just before the 20-minute mark, when Rhys Davies won a corner but somehow the strong defensive line of Accrington Stanley were able to keep the ball out of their goalkeeper’s net from the resulting corner, much to the annoyance of the Town players who couldn’t believe that the ball didn’t cross the line.
Roles were soon reversed though when Shrewsbury were forced to go back on the defensive when Lewis Gilboy found a cross into the box but his cross generated too much power for Charlie Ridge to find the end of and went out for a goal kick. The crossbar saved Shrewsbury from falling a goal behind when Alex O’Neil took a shot from outside the area, but the ball rattled the crossbar.
Jamaine Turner got Town back on the front foot by charging down the pitch with the ball, but was stopped in his tracks by the Stanley defence who stood strong to deny Turner from finding a pathway through to their goal. Minutes later Jack Leask and Kian Taylor also had shots at the Accrington goalkeeper but they came to nothing. Seconds before referee Declan Brown blew the whistle for half-time Accrington scored the opening goal, but it was at the expense of Town defender Luke Ward as it deflected off him and went into his own net.
Lifumpa Mwandwe made an instant impact after coming on as a substitute at the start of the second half and was in a desperate search of an equaliser and nearly had an opportunity himself but he was unable to reach the end of a powerful pass. After a stoppage in play and one red card a piece for each team, Reiss Corfield attempted a shot to try and give Shrewsbury to smile about after losing defender Luke Ward, but saw his chance at goal blocked by Matty Williams.
Another chance for Shrewsbury followed eight minutes later when Jack Leask found the feet of substitute Ryan Grosvenor who took a shot at the goalkeeper who managed to save, but the goal wouldn’t have counted anyway as the linesman flagged for offside. 15 minutes before the end of the game, Shrewsbury finally found that all-important equaliser and it came from Lifumpa Mwandwe who made a great impact since coming on. His cracking shot found the top right corner with the Accrington goalkeeper having no chance of saving that. This was Mwandwe’s first goal since having recently returned from an injury.
But Town couldn’t celebrate for long as straight from the kick off, Accrington drove themselves forwards towards Sam Agius’ goal and the ball was slotted into the bottom right-hand corner to take back their lead.
Two minutes into the added time and Shrewsbury had a reason to smile yet again as Rhys Davies, who made his first appearance since returning from loan found the end of James Rowland’s cross and calmly found the back of the net to draw level and took a well-deserved point to take into the Christmas break.
Shrewsbury Town will be back in home action in the New Year. Their first scheduled game is against Fleetwood Town on Saturday 5th January at Shrewsbury Sports Village.
Team: Sam Agius, Reiss Corfield (Ethan O’Toole 80), Rhys Davies, James Rowland (c), Edan Sears, Luke Ward, Lewis Redding (Lifumpa Mwandwe 46), Kian Taylor (Ryan Grosvenor 69), Jamaine Turner (Eliot Tibbs 59), Jack Leask, Archie Elmore.
Unused Sub: Jaden Bevan.