Marcus Braddock gives us his assessment of last week
Before I begin I'd like to send condolences to everyone at Leicester City after tragedy struck the club on Saturday evening. It puts football into it's proper perspective when things like this happen but it also shows the strength of football as supporters from every club offer their sympathies and love.
It's been an odd week for Shrewsbury Town with two rather diverse performances in the space of a few days. The first was on Tuesday night when high-flying Barnsley visited Montgomery Waters Meadow with an impressive goalscoring record behind them since last seasons relegation. If I'm being totally honest I thought we'd be lucky to get a draw against one of the top scoring teams in League One, even though we've performed pretty well against the in form teams so far.
With just two minutes gone, Barnsley's keeper failed to punch a cross the required distance, leaving Greg Docherty with a free shot from inside the area that he put away to make it 1-0. Just over 20 minutes later and Ollie Norburn saw his shot deflected into the Barnsley net giving us the unanticipated scoreline of 2-0 after just 23 minutes. We could have scored one or two more in the first half as we were pretty dominant and looked dangerous going forward. I was expecting Barnsley to push hard for an equaliser and they did that with just four second half minutes gone. It wasn't a pretty goal from anyone's point of view but it brought them back into the game and having scored two or more goals on nine occasions this season I was hoping we could somehow hold on for the forty-odd minutes left. Barnsley did push for an equalizer but with just over 20 minutes to go, Luke Waterfall capped an excellent performance with a great header from Greg Docherty's corner making it 3-1 to Town. It was probably our best performance so far this season and against one of the better teams in the division.
I was feeling pretty positive as I wrote my preview for the weekends game at Oxford and although the U's had improved on their early season form, Tuesday's performance suggested that we might have a pretty good chance of taking something. Sadly, Tuesdays Dr Jekyll had transformed into Mr Hyde and it was our turn to concede with just a few minutes on the clock. Oxford scored a second after just 14 minutes of a turgid first half performance from Town. The second half started with us looking a little better but that faded pretty quickly and as John Askey said after the game, “We huffed and puffed but never looked like making a break through”. Oxford scored a third with four minutes to go, sending over 500 Town fans home disappointed. I don't mind losing to a better team so much but Oxford offered very little and the result owed as much to our performance as it did home teams. If we play the same way against Wimbledon next weekend, it's difficult to see us getting anything.
The youth team were in action at Montgomery Waters Meadow on Thursday night with Lincoln City in the F,A. Youth cup. We looked the better team for much of the game but somehow Lincoln went home with the win. Going forward we looked pretty good with several Town players catching the eye. Lifumpa Mwandwe and Archie Elmore looked pretty good going forward and defender Zac Hartley looks a good crosser of the ball. We had some good chances but when Jack Leask's shot hit the post from distance I started to wonder if it was ever going to go in! Sadly it didn't and Lincoln progressed to the next round of the competition. According to the fixture list, the youth team don't have a game until they play Rochdale on November tenth.