Lewis Poole takes a look back on the 2017/18 Sky Bet League One Season
The start of the season saw Paul Hurst have his first full pre season ahead of Town’s League One campaign. After an extensive ad successful pre season preparing, Town were ready to go into the league firing on all cylinders. August started off with a flyer. Town’s first outing was a home fixture against Northampton Town, which saw Town start the season off the right way, getting a one nil win against The Cobblers. The game was a tight affair and was looking set to be a draw for both sides on the first day of the season, until Lenell John-Lewis notched the winner in the 92nd minute.
Lewis’ late winner put The Shrews on the front foot heading into the Carabao cup fixture against the Championship’s Nottingham Forest. The result didn’t swing Town’s way and Hurst’s men fell to a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Jason Cummings 75th minute winner.
Town didn’t let that result spoil their league form. A trip to Wimbledon beckoned and offered an opportunity for the Shrewsbury squad to bounce back immediately. An early goal was enough to get the three points on the trip to Kingsmeadow. Alex Rodman notched home a header from close range past The Dons keeper George Long in the seventh minute.
The relegation favourites character was tested in their next fixture against Rochdale back at The Montgomery Waters Meadow. Town came from behind to give the team another three points on the road. Stefan Payne’s goal with 15 minutes of the game remaining broke the hearts of The Dale fans and ensured all the point were brought back to Shropshire.
The final league game of the month came and Town were to face Oxford United away. The footballing world was expecting Town’s early form to crash but Hurst’s men remained undefeated in the league for a whole month. Despite not getting three points, Town went to battle with The U’s and earned another vital point away from home. Stefan Payne scored another vital goal, which denied Oxford taking the maximum points.
A stunning first month was drawing to a close. Town were unbeaten in the league and next faced Coventry City away at the Richo Arena in the Checkatrade trophy. League Two’s Coventry provided a stern test for Hurst’s men as they got their Checkatrade trophy campaign underway. In the dying moments of the game, Joe Riley marked his return to football with a bang. The fullback fired a spectacular free kick from 35 yards with pace into the top corner to give Town a 3-2 lead in the 94th minute. A tough game came to an end and Town were to progress into the next round of the competition.
Town ended the month in third position and undefeated in the League despite being the relegation favourites before a ball had been kicked.