Marcus Braddock takes a look at all things Shrewsbury Town
The past week has been a pretty good one for Shrewsbury Town with the youth team in action first. First-half goals from Archie Elmore and Luke Ward proved enough to beat our guests from Rochdale, making the away teams second-half goal just a consolation.
The Inter Armed forces game between the Air Force and the Navy played at Montgomery Waters Meadow was won 4-1 by the Air Force who I think of as the home team because R.A.F. Shawbury is only down the road and we don't have any sea.
On Thursday the club announced its participation in Kick it Out's week of action which started yesterday and runs for a week. Matches played this week will feature the captains wearing Kick It Out armbands and exchanging pennants. In addition, the EFL and its Clubs supporting the anti-discrimination message across their channels. I'm old enough to remember when racism was commonplace on the terraces and although great strides have been made in this area, recent events show that we can't afford to consider the problem anywhere near solved.
The youth team were in action again on Saturday morning as they welcomed Accrington. The result was the same as Tuesday but the score was a little higher with first-half goals from James Rowland and Luke Ward. Stanley came back to win the second half 2-1 but the one goal scored by Jamaine Turner in the second half was enough to win the game. The under 18's will be looking to make it three league wins in a row next week when they face Bury at the Shrewsbury Sports Village on Saturday morning.
It's a cliché but we really are at the “business end” of the season for the first team, when results seem more important than they did a few weeks ago. I thought we'd done very well against Portsmouth but not got the reward we deserved so we needed to go into the Southend game with the same level of intensity but be a little more incisive in front of goal. I thought we played well in the first half, neither team seemed to have too much in the way of chances and I wondered at half time if we were going to come away with a point which didn't really feel like enough against a team in their sort of form. Happily, Fejiri Okenabirhie was in the right place at the right time on 50 minutes to score the first goal for Town. He doesn't score average goals and this was another from the top drawer. He beat the Southend offside trap and then stroked it home with the accuracy to elude the keeper but not the bottom left corner.
To make things pretty certain, Luke Waterfall crept in at the far post to head home Scott Golbourne's 69th minute looping cross from the right. These headers are becoming a bit of a speciality for Waterfall who's scored six times in his 48 games this season. Waterfall was also part of a defence that kept a clean sheet so he deserves his man of the match award.
A win and a clean sheet are massively important for us at this stage when we're in need of points to preserve our Skybet League One status. With the teams around us not doing so well, we've gone four points clear of the relegation zone to 15th place with Scunthorpe visiting at the weekend. Will they still be managerless? Will they be a changed team under new management? Will Town be able to repeat the excellent performance on Saturday to take us one step closer to safety? They've been pretty strong away from home this season so they'll be hoping they can do something to change their current, rather dicey situation too. If we can get three points we'll be on 49 with five games to go, so it's another massive game!