Marcus Braddock takes his weekly look at all things Shrewsbury Town
Crazy, unbelievable and madness are just three of the words used by fans to describe what happened at Montgomery Waters Meadow on Saturday but the week started on Monday so that's where I'll begin.
Monday was the start of the first working week for new first-team coach Dean Whitehouse after Friday’s announcement about his appointment. If I'm being honest, he's a higher profile candidate than I would have expected but that's par for the course since Sam Ricketts joined us. Whitehead has had experience of playing in the top flight with Stoke, Huddersfield and Sunderland so he's likely to raise our standards even further.
The previous week saw Grenada qualify for the Gold Cup which meant an early return for Omar Beckles and Aaron Pierre and the possibility of making the line up for Tuesdays Emirates FA Cup replay at Bradford City.
I've quite enjoyed the role our players have played in Grenadian football history and the fact that we're likely to be gaining a new following so far away. I read that Grenadian F.A. President Cheney Joseph is also keen on adding Ro-Shaun Williams to his team but Williams is keeping his powder dry for the moment. It must be quite an enticing prospect to turn down, I know I'd be more than happy to write some match previews for them if they wanted to fly me over.
The Bradford game had home win written all over it, City are in good form at home and flying high in League Two. In the end, we kept a clean sheet and Dave Edwards grabbed us a winner in the second half, giving us a second home tie against League Two opposition.
Mansfield aren't flying quite so high in Skybet League Two as Bradford, they're having a mixed season and sit in 15th position. League position at this time of year doesn't always tell the full story and if you dig just a little further you'll see that they have a better away record than at home, losing just three on the road in the league. They've also kept three clean sheets away from home so it's no easy game and on we need to take as seriously as any other.
It's been relatively quiet week news-wise but there is one item that caught my eye and that's the half-season ticket that's going to be on sale from December 2nd. With retailers attempting to beguile us with tacky jumpers, Black Friday's and other invented traditions, it seems a great opportunity to give something that will last well into the New Year.
Our Saturday afternoon game against Bristol Rovers was another that I thought I could predict, telling anyone who would listen that it had 0-0 written all over it. I also said that having called a 0-0, it would be typical for it to end up as a 4-4 thriller!
It was a particularly unpredictable game that had several talking points. The first is that we conceded three preventable goals and as Sam Ricketts said after the game, you give yourself an uphill battle when you do that. He also mentioned that these sorts of mistakes are more likely the lower down the leagues you go which I read to mean that mistakes will happen, as this is third level football. We play a lower risk strategy than most other teams and it's paid us dividends so far but when the occasional mistake is made, we then have to take tactical risks to get back into the game. Obviously that leaves gaps for the opposition to exploit and which heightens the risk of conceding further goals.
As we tried to get back into the game, we should have won what looked a nailed-on penalty to me. Sadly, the officials didn't agree but seemed to take rather a long time establishing who had done what in the small melee that followed. It came from a Louis Thompson run from the right into the box. He'd beaten his marker and was clear in the box but was pulled back quite obviously when you look at a replay. Rover’s manager Graham Coughlan reacted like the defender he is and called it simulation. His inability to see that just shows the competitor within him, he just can’t see it from a detached point of view. It was one of the things liked about Coughlan when he played for us but it's less endearing these days. To be fair, both managers seemed frustrated with the referee, a feeling shared by most of the players and both sets of fans as the delay continued. Maybe my maths is poor but I was positive that the game had been set back by far more than the added minutes at the end as Mr Salisbury conducted his investigation.
Had we been awarded the penalty, things may have ended differently but a slightly shell-shocked looking Town quickly conceded another and things started to look rather bleak. Fortunately, the bleakness abated when Aaron Pierre got the ball in the Rovers box, had a little run and then swivelled and passed the ball back to the centre of the box where Josh Lauren anticipated quickest and fired it into the net.
Going into half time 2-1 down having scored last, I was optimistic that we could still get something from the game but that dried up quickly when a defensive mix-up and quick reactions from Liam Secombe resulted in a third Rovers goal. It was the proverbial sickener and a set back we could do without but we were back on level terms when Ollie Norburn curled a free kick in from a free-kick close to the corner of the box. Josh Laurent added another just five minutes later, knocking the ball up, turning and hitting it on the way down after a cross from impressive substitute Ryan Giles.
Sadly it wasn't to be and it had to be one of the two ex-Shrews who got the winner, with Abu Ogogo breaking our hearts with three minutes to go.
As I've mentioned, we're playing Mansfield in the Emirates F.A. Cup, keep an eye out for my preview on Friday for team news and a look at the opposition.