TOWN GET THEIR FIRST WIN OF THE SEASON IN SPECTACULAR STYLE
BARNSLEY 1 – 2 SHREWSBURY
(Winnall 38′) (Ellis 6′, Clark 93′)
Date: Saturday 5th September 2015
Despite some impressive performances and results in the Capital One Cup and Johnstone’s Paint Trophy (JPT), Town were still searching for their first league win of the season. A trip to Oakwell turned out to be where they found it, with a last minute goal from Barnsley-born Jordan Clark.
Arriving at the Oakwell, there is a strong sense of tradition (as well pies and pints) in the air, complemented by the new improvements to the stadium over the years. For many of the travelling fans this would have been an opportunity to visit a new ground, since Shrewsbury hadn’t played here for 26 years. Yet Barnsley is not unfamiliar to some in the Shrews dressing room, with Jordan Clark and Liam Lawrence both joining from the Tykes in 2014, as did recent signing Sam Patterson. Not to mention the man himself, Mickey Mellon, who was caretaker manager at Barnsley before getting the job at Town.
Following a comfortable 2-0 home win over Oldham on Tuesday night in the JPT, Mellon made few alterations to the starting line-up. Club captain Liam Lawrence returned to the midfield, whilst goal-scorer against Crystal Palace, Matt Tootle, took his place at right-back. McAlinden was dropped to the bench, in favour of a 4-3-2-1 formation.
After a strong start from Town, it took just nine minutes for them to take the lead. A Liam Lawrence cross was clumsily converted with some confusion over the goal-scorer. Although originally given as an own goal by Barnsley defender Marc Roberts, credit was eventually awarded to Shrewsbury’s Mark Ellis. Not the most exciting of goals, and from the stands it was difficult to see if it had even gone over the line, but nevertheless, much needed for Town.
Unfortunately the first blow wasn’t far for the Shrews, with James Wesolowski having to come off the pitch with a knee injury only fifteen minutes into his first league start in seven months. Town fans await with baited breath to find out the full extent. After the supposedly close to one million pound sale of Ryan ‘Ginger Pirlo’ Woods to Brentford on Tuesday, the return of Wesolowski is key to maintaining the creativity in midfield that Town need. His replacement on the day however, was Larnell Cole who signed on loan from Fulham four days earlier and made a sound first impression on the away fans with his strong performance.
Barnsley went on to play the better attacking football in the latter of the first half with some close chances, including Conor Hourihane’s shot which was denied by the woodwork and some decent saves by Town keeper, Jayson Leutwiler. The Tykes were eventually rewarded close to the half-time whistle with a well-struck goal from Sam Winnall.
Reconvening at half-time seemed to be exactly what the Shrews needed as they came out and dominated the second half. Some good chances coming from ‘Magic’ Jean-Loius Akpa-Akpro after replacing Barnett in the 77th minute, and even closer chances from Jordan Clark who was relishing his opportunity in the starting line-up that many fans had been asking for.
With 90 minutes approaching and 4 additional minutes indicated, it looked like full-time may be a similar story for the Shrews; some excellent chances that they couldn’t quite put away. Yet, for once luck was on Town’s side as the clock creeped into the final minute of the game and Clark’s shot was deflected into the goal.
The away end erupted with the sound of 437 overjoyed Shrewsbury fans who knew the first win of the season, that was both needed and deserved, had finally come. An away win in the final minute is an unforgettable moment for football fans, and even sweeter considering Town were on the opposite end last Saturday.
A further positive to take away from the game was that Nathaniel Knight-Percival, who like Wesolowski hadn’t started in the league for 7 months due to injury, played extremely well and once again is looking like a key player for the rest of the season. Despite the loss of two top players Ryan Woods and Connor Goldson, today’s win will give Town the confidence and belief that they can succeed this time around after an outstanding bounce back to League One last season.
Next Saturday the Shrews are on the road again travelling the 193 miles to Southend United, who also achieved promotion last season and their first win of the season this weekend. A tough match indeed, but Shrewsbury will be hoping to repeat the success of this afternoon.