TOWN GET BACK ON TRACK BY BEATING THE BEST
Shrewsbury 2 – 0 Bury
(Kaikai 28’, Ogogo 73’)
Date: Saturday 24th October 2015
Ground: Greenhous Meadow
It would be fair to say that most Salop fans were nervous ahead of this fixture. Two disappointing defeats prior to this afternoon’s match had left morale fairly low, and facing fellow League One newbies Bury, who seemed to be relishing promotion close to the top of the table, was perhaps not the most desired of games. Yet, there are no easy matches in this League, as we know all too well. But, with some fighting spirit and two stunning goals from Kaikai and Ogogo, Town took all three points from arguably the best team to visit the Meadow this season.
It was almost a year to the day that Town last played Bury at home. Back in League Two, Shrewsbury thrashed The Shakers 5-0 at a point in the season when the Town’s promotion campaign was really gathering momentum. Now in League One, and after some serious investment in strengthening their squad over the summer, Bury promised to be one of the toughest oppositions so far.
Manager, Mickey Mellon, made two changes to the Shrewsbury team that lined-up against Doncaster in Tuesday night’s frustrating loss. Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro was dropped to the bench in favour of Tyrone Barnett, and with Ian Black out due to an injury, Zak Whitbread was awarded his full debut. New signing Anthony Gerrard, the cousin of Steven Gerrard, went straight into the squad, despite not having played for five months.
Bury certainly showed their class in the first 20 minutes and looked dangerous in attack, with several attempts on goal from Hussey. Then, Soares’ strike from 30 yards out forced the Town keeper, Jayson Leutwiler, to tip it past the post.
Town were not intimidated however, and showed the determination to fight back. Sullay Kaikai had a great chance that hit the post, but minutes later he was rewarded with his fourth goal in as many games that saw Town on top at half time.
After a late challenge in the first half it was clear that Kaikai was struggling, and so he was taken off at half time as a precaution. Early indications show that it may not be too serious, but it was still a blow for the Town after an impressive performance from the Crystal Palace loanee. His replacement was Jean-Louis Akpa-Akpro; the hat-trick hero this time last year.
When Tom Pope came on for the Shakers not long after the second half commenced, it was clear that Bury were looking to play more direct football and really put pressure on the Shrews. This produced an entertaining end-to-end half and some great chances for both sides. On the day however, it was Shrewsbury that were able to convert one of their chances with a superb volley from Ogogo in the 73rd minute. It was the midfielder’s first goal for the club since joining in the summer, and well-deserved after a solid performance that arguably would have got him Man of the Match even before the goal.
The Meadow roared in celebration of doubling their lead which secured Shrews the win, not to mention a much-needed confidence boost. Another positive to take away from the game was the encouraging performance from youngster, Dom Smith, who was praised by Mellon for adapting to Right Back after Anthony Gerrard replaced Matt Tootle. Gerrard’s experience showed when he came on, and it was important that he got some game time under his belt.
After two consecutive home games, Town don’t have to travel too far for next Saturday’s Halloween fixture against Port Vale. Vale Park is always a tough ground to visit, but this afternoon’s win against a strong Bury side will hopefully be the confidence boost needed in order for Town to play with as much character as they showed today.