Two second half goals from Shrewsbury Town ensured they sealed a brilliant 3-1 win against Cheltenham Town at Montgomery Waters Meadow on Saturday, despite play the whole of the second half with 10 men.
On a day where everyone associated with Shrewsbury celebrated the life of former fan favourite Marvin Morgan - who sadly lost his life just over a week ago at the age of 38 - Salop started the game brightly and nearly took the lead in the first minute. A looping ball into the box from Tom Bloxham found Luke Leahy unmarked at the near post, but Leahy could only head straight at Owen Evans in the Cheltenham goal.
Salop took the lead 10 minutes in when another cross from Bloxham found Dan Udoh unmarked in the centre of the box, and he headed home a simple header. The visitors found their equaliser just five minutes later when Liam Sercombe played a ball across goal to the feet of Andy Williams who tapped home.
The visitors could have potentially had two or three goals if not for the heroics of Marko Marosi who made two spectacular point-blank saves. Leahy also stopped a destined goal when he cleared a shot from Alfie May off the line.
Shrewsbury’s job was made even difficult when in the 38th minute Bloxham was shown a straight red card for an off-the-ball incident between him and Cheltenham Town defender Chris Hussey.
However, despite the man disadvantage, Salop came out the blocks flying in the second half and took the lead once again when, after some brilliant individual play from Josh Vela, Udoh found himself one on one with Evans and he slotted the ball beautifully into the bottom corner to get his second of the game and put Town 2-1 up.
Salop had a good chance to get a third in the 73rd minute when Rekeil Pyke hit a curling shot from just inside the box with his right foot which forced Evans into a great save at full stretch with his left hand. Shrewsbury bagged their third five minutes later when Udoh did extremely well to dispossess a Cheltenham defender on the halfway line and feed David Davis. The defensive midfielder was able to run the whole of the Cheltenham half before neatly slotting the ball into the back of the net.
Marosi made another spectacular save five minutes from time when a shot from Matty Blair inside the box seemed destined to hit the back of the net, but the Shrewsbury 'keeper got down quickly to his right at full stretch to push the ball wide.
Despite having ten men for the whole second half, it was a very professional performance from Steve Cotterill’s team who didn’t seem at all phased by being a man down.
Salop: Marko Marosi, Luke Leahy, Matthew Pennington, Josh Vela, Daniel Udoh, Nathaniel Ogbeta, David Davis, Elliott Bennett, Tom Bloxham, Josh Daniels, George Nurse
Subs not used: Harry Burgoyne, Aaron Pierre, Sam Cosgrove, Ryan Bowman, Rekeil Pyke, Charlie Caton, Khanya Leshabela
Cheltenham: Owen Evans, Sean Long, Kyle Joseph, Liam Sercombe, Matty Blair, Alfie May, Chris Hussey, Ellis Chapman, Andy Williams, Charlie Raglan, Dan Crowley
Subs not used: Scott Flinders, Lewis Freestone, Callum Wright, Grant Horton, Mattie Pollock, Conor Thomas
Referee: Andrew Kitchen
Assistant Referees: Peter Gooch and David Hunt
Fourth Official: Daniel Flynn
Chris Hussey picked up a yellow card following the altercation that saw Tom Bloxham sent off.
Alfie May was booked for bringing down Josh Daniels in the first half.
Ellis Chapman was the final player in the referees' book. His challenge on Josh Vela was late.