Marcus Braddock takes his look at all things Shrewsbury Town
The seven days between defeat at Oxford and our visit to Wimbledon seemed longer than usual with the time mainly filled with speculation and vegetable carving. The vegetable in question was the pumpkin, carved and then displayed to ward off evil. James Bolton made the best one although I'm not sure if they took it on the team bus to ward off our opposition. Probably not as I don’t think the lovely club that is Wimbledon could be considered evil.
The speculation was the usual sort based on people’s perception of past performances plus pressure from the press pack. I can see both sides of the story on this one, there have been times this season when the football hasn't been great but this is a new team and a new team is going to have teething problems. That said, one or two performances have been difficult to watch but even last season we had a couple of poor games.
Saturday was one of those games where the result was more important than the performance. That’s just as well because the first half didn't look to be much of an improvement on the previous Saturday. James Hanson's goal had seemed on the cards and when a decent cross-eluded Steve Arnold's grasp, he leaned in and put it away. After John Askey's pre-match comments, I'd expected a little more from the team with so much at stake but Wimbledon are fighting for their lives in front of a home crowd so it was never going to be a walkover.
The second half was certainly an improvement and when Aaron Amadi-Holloway headed Greg Docherty's corner back across goal, Luke Waterfall put it away with a low volley in the left of the net. Waterfall and Steve Arnold were called into action at the other end as Wimbledon pushed to regain their lead and neither were found wanting. Wimbledon have conceded quite a few in the final minutes of games this season so it wasn't a huge surprise to see us grab a 89th minute winner. Luke Waterfall was again in the right place at the right time with another looping header, similar to the one he scored against Barnsley. The relief was palpable as the team peeled away toward the away fans to celebrate. After away performances had been called into question you could tell it meant a lot to the players to get the proverbial monkey off their backs.
We have a two-week break from the league now with Salford City visiting in the F.A. Cup this weekend. They're one of the most high profile clubs in the National League, mainly because of their recent association with former Manchester United players Ryan Giggs, Gary Neville, Phil Neville, Paul Scholes and Nicky Butt, who each bought 10% of the club in 2014. They've been promoted three times since they joined in 2014 and currently occupy 3rd place in the National league. They've not lost in the league since August 11th although three of their last four games have ended in draws. The game takes place on Sunday at 12.45 and I'll take a closer look at their form in my match preview on Friday.
The under 18 team haven't played this week as it was half term but they do have a home game on their fixture list for this coming weekend. If you fancy watching them, the game is scheduled to take place at 11 am on Saturday morning at the Sports Village in Sundorne. On the subject of the youth teams, Academy manager Eric Ramsey has written a very interesting report on his recent visit to Iceland as part of his training for a UEFA Pro' License. It's well worth a read.
The reserve team played at Walsall in the Central League Cup last week and followed up their October 3rd 3-0 win at home to Bristol Rovers with another 3-0 win! Lenell John-Lewis scored a couple and Aaron Amadi-Holloway got the other as a strong Town team eased past Walsall with a clean sheet. The next game in this competition is at home to Burton on December 11th.
In off the pitch news, there is a meeting of the Supporters Parliament on Tuesday, starting at 7pm. There is a tour of our new changing facilities and a talk from Academy manager Eric Ramsey.
With Remembrance Day approaching, I'd like to remind supporters that you can show your respect for the fallen with your club colours by means of a new enamel poppy badge that also has the club crest along side it. They're priced at £3 but they are limited so get yours from the club shop ASAP!