Shrewsbury 3 Accrington 2
Callum McKenzie made just one change to the side that beat Rochdale 2-1 on Tuesday. The change saw Ryan Grosvenor replace Jack Leask respectively. The last time these two sides met was in Town’s last game before the Christmas break which saw them earn a point after coming from behind twice to level the score line at two goals each. The goal scorers for Shrewsbury that day were Lifumpa Mwandwe and Rhys Davies.
The first chance of the game fell to the home side in the third minute, when Archie Elmore was gifted the ball from just outside the box but his final shot scraped over the top of the crossbar. This created momentum for Shrewsbury as minutes later Lifumpa Mwandwe had an opportunity in front of goal but Accrington goalkeeper Toby Savin was able to get to the ball first and cleared the danger.
After having a good spell of possession, Town were forced to go on the defensive as the visitors began to attack in front of goal. Tom Davies conceded a second corner when he knocked the ball out of play, but Matty Williams saw his header go over the top of Jack Atkinson’s goal. Lifumpa Mwandwe had another opportunity to open the scoring but his shot from the left had too much curl behind it and went out for an Accrington goal kick.
Shrewsbury thought they had taken the lead in the 11th minute when a neat passage of play between Luke Ward, Lifumpa Mwandwe and Kian Taylor found the feet of Jamaine Turner who headed the ball towards goal. However, the defensive line of Stanley were able to clear the ball from off the line. Accrington had another chance of their own minutes later when Alex O’Neil passed the ball behind Dan Walker to find Harry Perritt, with the decisive shot inching wide of Atkinson’s goal.
Chances came for either side in quick succession. The first fell to Shrewsbury when Kian Taylor attempted to play in Archie Elmore, but the pass just had too much power behind it and a full stretched Elmore couldn’t reach the end of the ball. Accrington’s Dan Martin was able to set up a shot for himself, with James Rowland there to block the effort. Shrewsbury found the all-important first goal through captain Rowland who fired the ball straight down the middle of the goal after Toby Savin denied both Dan Walker and Ryan Grosvenor seconds earlier.
Three minutes later and Town were on the front foot yet again, and had the chance to double their lead when Lifumpa Mwandwe was awarded a penalty from referee Daniel Sims. After forcing the save from Savin, Luke Ward was able to slot home the rebound; giving Town a 2-0 lead into the break.
Accrington started the second half in desperate search of a goal to get them back into the game. There was early pressure by Alex O’Neil, but Luke Ward kept his composure and was able to get the ball away from his goal. Dan Walker won a free kick for Town one minute later after he was fouled by Harry Perritt, which saw James Rowland take but Perritt was able to clear. The visitors had another opportunity at goal through Dan Martin but his shot went wide of the post; causing no concern for Jack Atkinson.
Lewis Gilboy scored the goal that Stanley were so desperately craving after he was able to get away from Luke Ward; firing the ball into the back of the net to bring the deficit to just one goal. The visitors really started to apply the pressure on Shrewsbury to find the equalising goal, and came close when they had a corner but the tall defensive figure of Luke Ward was there to head away.
The home side added their third goal of the afternoon when a good build-up of play allowed Lifumpa Mwandwe to make the pass to Jamaine Turner, with the latter heading the ball behind goalkeeper Toby Savin. A great celebration routine followed for Town courtesy of the goal scorer and Mwandwe, which brought smiles to all the Shrewsbury fans in the stand. James Rowland almost added his second of the day but his final shot was centimetres wide of the goal; taking a deflection on the way through earning a corner, which eventually came to nothing for Town.
Stanley almost scored again through Lewis Gilboy again after he managed to leave everyone else behind to make a charge to Jack Atkinson’s goal, but Zac Hartley was able to get back but Gilboy’s final shot was too weak and found the arms of the goalkeeper. Although it wasn’t long until Accrington narrowed the score line to just one goal again after they found their second in the 74th minute.
A number of chances came for both sides in the remaining minutes of the game, but none of them could be converted into goals and the fixture finished in a 3-2 win for Shrewsbury Town.
Town will be looking to make it three league wins in a row next week when they face Bury at the Shrewsbury Sports Village.
Team: Jack Atkinson, Zac Hartley (Jacob Bell 83), Dan Walker, James Rowland (c), Tom Davies, Luke Ward, Jamaine Turner, Kian Taylor (Jack Leask 73), Archie Elmore (Dylan Downes 88), Ryan Grosvenor, Lifumpa Mwandwe (Liam Thomas 73).
Unused sub: Sam Agius.