Lewis Poole reflects on the 2017/18 Sky Bet League One season
After a disappointing November, Paul and his squad would have been fully motivated to grasp the earlier season form and perform to the standards they set previously. The month of December provided Town with an opportunity to get back to winning ways over the Christmas period. December provided five games for Hurst’s men to get back to winning ways and they did just that.
Town’s festive month started with another FA Cup game, this time at home against Morecombe. The Shrimps were unable to beat Town and Hurst’s men progressed into the next round thanks to goals from either wing. Rodman and Whalley both netted in favour of The Shrews.
The Cup duties didn’t stop there and Town had their first knockout game in the Checkatrade Trophy. They faced Port Vale at Vale Park. It looked as if Town were down and out after just one minute from a Christian Montano goal but Town’s character that they had displayed for most of the season shone through. Louis Dodds and Shaun Whalley fired Salop into the next round.
The first league game was a trip to MK Dons on the ninth of December. Town managed to get a draw at Stadium MK, which stopped the run off loses and gave the team a platform to go and perform in their next fixture. The late equaliser from the winger Shaun Whalley showed an abundance of fight from the team and ensured The Shrews didn’t leave Milton Keynes empty handed.
The next game was back at The Montgomery Waters Meadow, where the squad were to face off with league strugglers Blackpool. Town ensured they built on the back of the draw against MK and the team went one better and got all three points in front of their home fans. It was Jon Nolan from midfield again who notched a goal to the delight of the Town support, the result kept Town in a healthy second place.
The third game of the month came around quick and the momentum helped the team earn another three points and the back-to-back wins. Stefan Payne and Shaun Whalley were both on form as they both tucked home goals to give Town a 2-0 win over the visitors Portsmouth. This win didn’t mean any change in the league table but kept the Town fans dreaming of a automatic promotion.
Just three days later, Town had the feat of traveling to The DW stadium to face the league leaders Wigan Athletic on Boxing Day. Town would have surely been underdogs in the fixture but once again brought home a draw which saw Hurst’s men pushing The Latics all the way.
The final game of December was a trip to Southend United. If Town were to get a positive result it would mean the squad would have achieved another special month without losing a game. Town had some fortune early in the game as Southend conceded an own goal, which put Town in the lead. Norwich loanee Ben Godfrey doubled the Salop lead and looked sure to give Town another massive three points on the road. A second half goal from Southend wasn’t enough to trouble the result as all three points were taken home.
December was a near perfect month again for Shrewsbury, having winning four and drawing two games during the Christmas period. It was the perfect response to the dip in form over November and would have put the team in high hopes heading into the New Year. The positive result put Town only two points behind first place Wigan.