Town defeated at Ewood Park
Town: Dean Henderson, Ben Godfrey (Stefan Payne 74), Mat Sadler, Omar Beckles (Max Lowe 73), Shaun Whalley, Abu Ogogo ©, Carlton Morris (Lenell John-Lewis 80), James Bolton, Jon Nolan, Aristote Nsiala, Alex Rodman
Subs: Craig MacGillivray, Max Lowe, Louis Dodds, Lenell John-Lewis, Bryn Morris, Luke Hendrie, Stefan Payne
Blackburn Rovers: David Raya, Ryan Nyambe, Derrick Williams, Richie Smallwood, Dominc Samuel (Lewis Travis 85), Danny Graham (Joe Nuttall 81), Charlie Mulgrew ©, Bradley Dack, Paul Downing, Elliott Bennett, Craig Conway (Adam Armstrong 61)
Subs: Jayson Leutwiler, Elliott Ward, Paul Caddis, Adam Armstrong, Willem Tomlinson, Lewis Travis, Joe Nuttall
Assistants: Matthew Jones and Kevin Mulraine
Fourth Official: Scott Oldham
Attendance: 13579 (1387)
Shrewsbury Town went down 3-1 to Blackburn Rovers in an eventful game at Ewood Park. Blackburn took the lead on 15 minutes thanks to Charlie Mulgrew’s free-kick but Town went into the break on level terms as Jon Nolan scored from the spot. However, two goals in the space of 10 second-half minutes gave Rovers the win. Danny Graham slotted home after Bradley Dack’s shot hit the post and Mulgrew scored his second of the game, this time from the spot, after Dean Henderson was judged to have fouled Dominic Samuel.
Paul Hurst reverts back to the side which played so well in the 0-0 draw against West Ham last Sunday. That means that there are seven changes from the side that progressed in the Checkatrade Trophy on Wednesday night, however the only change to the 18 from the West Ham game sees Luke Hendrie make his first appearance on the bench in place of Arthur Gnahoua who has been struggling with a slight hamstring injury.
After a cagey opening five minutes it was the home side that would have the first shot on goal when Bradley Dack was given too much time in the box to turn and shoot, but Henderson did well to get down to his right on and hold onto the effort.
Town were struggling to hold onto the ball for any length of time and Dean Henderson was forced into a second save in the space of three minutes. Once again it as Dack that tested the Manchester United loanee and this was an even better stop as the Rovers man connected well with a half volley from inside the box but Henderson sprung to his right to tip it round the post.
Dack’s influence on the game was profound and it was his slipped through ball to Dominic Samuel that led to Omar Beckles going into the book after he pulled Samuel back. There were calls from the Rovers crowd for Beckles to be sent off as last man, but John Brooks gave him the benefit of the doubt.
However, from the resulting free-kick Blackburn took a deserved lead. It came from a slightly surprising source as central defender Charlie Mulgrew tried his luck from distance but his curling left-footed shot went in off the post to put Rovers 1-0 up with just 15 minutes on the clock.
The game began to settle down, but it took until just after the half hour mark for Town to have any real attempt at goal. It fell the way of Alex Rodman who cutting inside onto his favoured right foot, but he pulled the shot and went a couple of yards wide of the post.
Town hadn’t really been at the races for the first half an hour, but with 34 minutes on the clock Town were offered the perfect opportunity to equalise when Carlton Morris was brought down by Blackburn ‘keeper David Raya. Morris appeared to get to Abu Ogogo’s pass first before going down under Raya’s dive and Referee Brooks had no hesitation in awarding a penalty. Jon Nolan stood up to take it and he sent Raya the wrong way, side footing into the bottom right-hand corner.
Rovers looked particularly dangerous when they attacked down the flanks and Danny Graham went close when he got his head to a dangerous Craig Conway cross, but luckily for Town his effort went a yard wide of the post.
The end of the first-half was delayed by a lengthy injury stoppage to Toto Nsiala. The Town defender had challenged Rovers goalkeeper David Raya at a corner kick and although Raya won the free-kick it was Toto who came off worse with what looked like a bang to the head. Eventually, he got back to his feet and that was the last action of the half.
Town hadn’t been at their fluent best in the first-half, but at the start of the second they put together a fluent counter attack that they probably ought to have done better from. Carlton Morris managed to get away down the left hand side and he ran 40 yards before cutting the ball back to Nolan on the edge of the box. Nolan took a touch and looked set to shoot but the ginger haired midfielder appeared to hesitate and in the end his shot was pulled harmlessly wide.
At the other end Blackburn had the ball in the net for the second time of the afternoon but this time referee John Brooks ruled Paul Downing’s shot out as he felt there was a push on a Salop man in the build-up – much to the annoyance of the Rovers faithful.
The game was beginning to open up and Shaun Whalley tried his luck from distance after he picked the ball up 45 yards from goal and ran 20 yards before attempting a right footed shot, but he didn’t get the desired connection and the shot went wide.
However, the open nature of the game meant Blackburn always looked like they would create chances of their own and on the 60 minute mark they regained the lead. Bradley Dack’s powerful shot cannoned off the post, but it was a man in blue and white that would react fastest, with Danny Graham stroking home from 10 yards to make it 2-1.
The hosts then ought to have made it three when Dominic Samuel got to the by-line and pulled it back for substitute Adam Armstrong, but Armstrong’s shot from near the penalty spot was brilliantly saved by Dean Henderson who flung out a left hand as he dived to his right and he managed to claim the shot at the second attempt.
However, Blackburn would be presented with the perfect opportunity to score a third when John Brooks pointed to the spot. This time it was Dean Henderson who had been deemed to have fouled Dominic Samuel when the Rovers winger got in behind the Town defence. Brooks took an age to make his decision before eventually pointing to the spot. Rovers Captain Charlie Mulgrew decided to take the responsibility himself and he sent Henderson the wrong way to score his second of the afternoon with 20 minutes to play.
With Town now 3-1 down Paul Hurst decided it was time for a couple of changes. First, he replaced Omar Beckles with Max Lowe at left-back and then he decided to bring on a second striker as Stefan Payne came on in place of Ben Godfrey as Town went to a 4-4-2 formation. Town then made their final substitution with 10 minutes to go as Lenell John-Lewis replaced Carlton Morris upfront.
However, the substitutes struggled to really get into the game as Blackburn dominated the ball for much of the final quarter of an hour, seeing the game out with relative ease.