Shaun Whalley comes back to haunt his former employers as Shrewsbury Town rescue a point at the Wham Stadium.
The winger played over 50 times for Stanley in a two-year spell that ended in 2008. The equaliser came with 13 minutes remaining, and cancelled out Seamus Conneely’s 47th minute strike – his first goal in a year.
Shrewsbury Town were unchanged from the side that beat Sunderland 2-1 last time out. There may have been a bit of metaphorical rust to shake off following the Ipswich postponement, but it was the visitors that acclimatised well to the blustery conditions early on. Ollie Norburn’s dangerous cross was nodded behind by Michael Nottingham. Town worked the resulting corner out to Josh Vela, but the midfielder blazed over the crossbar.
Former Everton and Walsall defender Michael Hughes charged down a shot with his head, and may have still been in a daze as he gifted possession to Vela. The ball eventually reached Harry Chapman who saw his strike blocked. Josh Vela followed through and his effort was parried to safety by Nathan Baxter.
John Coleman’s side have certainly been cutting the mustard this season. Some pundits had the Lancashire side down as relegation candidates, but instead they occupied 6th place prior to kick-off. Having recently put six past Bristol Rovers, Town’s defenders may have feared they were in for a long afternoon. Their first real chance arrived from a Matt Butcher corner which was helped on by Colby Bishop and Michael Nottingham. Cameron Burgess was alive in the six-yard box and his hooked attempt was expertly charged down.
Shrewsbury were creating the better of the opportunities. Sean Goss saw Nathan Baxter off his line and tried an audacious shot from distance, however, it sailed harmlessly wide. Nathanael Ogbeta has made an impressive start during his maiden league appearances, and the ex-Manchester City youngster was on the hunt for his first senior goal. He moved through the gears and glided beyond Matt Butcher prior to seeing his shot deflect off Conneely.
At the other end, a hopeful pass down the channel was seized upon by Paul Smyth. The Northern Ireland international advanced into the box and Ro Shaun-Williams made a vital interception to snuff out the danger. Moments later a sweeping Adam Phillips delivery just evaded the head of Dion Charles.
The visitors had the final opportunity of a ‘chess like’ first period. Wonderful play from Town eventually saw Ogbeta thread a delightful pass toward the onrushing Harry Chapman. The Blackburn loanee was about to pull the trigger, however, Ben Barclay recovered superbly to produce an excellent challenge.
The home side took the lead early in the second period. A free-kick from ex-Liverpool academy product Adam Phillips caused pandemonium inside the danger area as Town couldn’t clear their lines whilst Matija Sarkic couldn’t command the situation. Donald Love’s headed clearance didn’t have the required trajectory and fell invitingly for Seamus Conneely who was lurking on the edge of the box. The long=serving Stanley man struck a sweet volley into the back of the net leaving Sarkic with no chance.
A lull in play ensued as chances became at a premium. Sean Goss’ long range free-kick had Baxter scrambling across his goal, but it just whistled wide. Shrewsbury almost gifted their opponents a second goal. Poor decision making from Ollie Norburn saw him pick out Matt Butcher instead of a teammate. Colby Bishop found space out wide and his shot deflected narrowly over the bar.
However, despite the scare, Town were level in the 77th minute. Harry Chapman’s low corner was guided on by Dave Edwards and Shaun Whalley stole a march ahead of Connelly to seek the required touch and make the contest 1-1.
The rest of the match passed without anything of note to report except for a late Phillips effort which was always rising. Town welcome MK Dons on Tuesday night, whilst Accrington visit Crewe.
Team Line Ups
1. Baxter, 2. Nottingham, 6. Barclay, 3. Hughes, 4. Burgess, 6. Butcher (86), 28. Conneely, 36. Phillips, 7. Smyth (45), 19. Bishop, 32. Charles
Subs: 8. Russell (86), 12. Maguire, 14. Uwakwe, 18. Rodgers, 20. Scully, 37. Morgan (45), 40. Savin
Subs Not Used: 12. Maguire, 14. Uwakwe, 18. Rodgers, 20. Scully, 40. Savin
31. Sarkic, 17. Love, 5. Williams, 24. Ebanks-Landell, 14. Ogbeta, 8. Norburn (70), 10. Vela, 6. Goss (88), 7. Whalley, 20. Main (70), 32. Chapman
Subs: 1. Burgoyne, 3. Golbourne, 4. Edwards (70), 9. Pyke, 22. Daniels, 23. Udoh (70), 28. Davis (88)
Subs Not Used: 1. Burgoyne, 3. Golbourne, 9. Pyke, 22. Daniels
Other League One Results
Burton 0 – 3 Sunderland
Doncaster 3 – 3 Hull
Fleetwood 1 – 1 Charlton
Gillingham 2 – 0 Bristol Rovers
Ipswich 0 – 0 Oxford
MK Dons 4 – 3 Northampton
Peterborough 3 – 0 AFC Wimbledon
Portsmouth 0 – 1 Blackpool
Rochdale 0 – 0 Plymouth
Swindon 2 – 1 Crewe
Wigan 1 – 2 Lincoln