The win over Southend on Saturday might be the most important win of this season. If the pressure of being winless wasn't getting to big John and the lads then they are superhuman.
The weird thing about this new Salop team is that not at any point of the winless run did I think or even start to feel they were a poor team. The outlook never got to a bleak for me at any stage. This squad should easily be challenging for top half of the table, if not top ten.
We were spoilt last season. We got off to a flying start and were able to maintain the roll we were on and challenge at the top of the table. But what that does show us is how important victories are for the psych of the team. If you can harness that feel good factor, you can achieve almost anything.
Yes, we have been waiting what seems like an eternity for a precious three point return but we now the lads have to build on win number one and go and find win number two quickly, let's get the good vibes back and lets start showing everyone what a good team we know we are.
The strength in depth in the midfield is incredible. When you think that down on the south coast against Pompy, Docherty missed out and had to make do with a place on the bench before coming on and scoring and showing enough to regain his spot against Southend where he replaced the unlucky Josh Laurent. People have criticised Askey for making some seemingly odd choices early in his tenure but he got this spot on as the Doc put in an absolute beast of a performance against the Shrimpers. His early goal quelled any nerves on the pitch and in the stands and for the next 80 odd minutes he turned in a real man of the match performance, covering every blade of grass.
Twenty goals a season?
The mythical twenty goal a season striker has eluded Salop for a good long time. Lee Angol looks like he has enough about him to become the first Town striker since Grant Holt to notch the magic twenty. He has shown his preditary strikers instincts against Luton nicking the ball off a lackadaisical goalkeeper before rolling the ball into the net and then on Saturday he showed a cool strikers finish to put Town two up. I find it interesting that Askey was confident enough to let Stefan Payne go in order to bring in this fella, it certainly seemed a gamble at the time, but it looks like a gamble that could well become a masterstroke.
Goalscorers Docherty & Angol celebrate (GETTY)
Salop's winless run was finally ended with a commanding performance and a 2-0 win over the Shrimpers of Southend.
Salop started brightly and any nerves about the winless run were soon banished as Docherty was picked out by Alex Gilliead's cross from the left and fired a powerful shot from 15 yards high into the net, he didn't know it at this point but it was a goal that his performance was going to deserve.
Shaun Whalley and Angol then went close, but Southend came into the game and ramped up the pressure on Town's defence.
Coleman reacted well to deny Diengs from Close range, Cox saw his effort well saved and Hopper headed wide when well placed as Southend came out in search of an equaliser.
It was Salop, though who took command of the game on the stroke of half time. The Shrimpers failed to clear Whalley's corner and Angol drilled home a low shot from close range. It was a real strikers finish and was a sight for sore Salop eyes!
Stockdale did well to keep out Angol's header with his feet early in the second half, Salop's striker may have been a little disappointed not to work the 'keeper harder.
Coleman and Sadler saw out a couple of hairy moments for Town, who to a man looked overjoyed to get the winless monkey off their backs at the final whistle.
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Montgomery Waters Meadow
1st September 2018
Rovers are definitely a team who like to get forward and play attacking football. They almost always create chances, as the fact that they sit second in the expected goals table suggests. However, defending is a problem. Rovers go into match-day six having failed to keep a clean sheet in each of their first five league games, while only three teams have conceded more goals than them. In truth, they look open and easy to expose, so Salop should fancy their chances at home on Saturday.
Alex Rodman's and Stefan Payne's return to the Meadow adds a bit of a narrative to the game, but hopefully they won't be stealing the headlines come 5pm on Saturday as they did so often last season for Salop. The Shropshire crowd will hopefully give them a nice warm welcome and then nothing for the rest of the afternoon to show them the respect they deserve after last season’s efforts.
Salop as we know are still without a win. It has been a poor start to the season without a doubt. Saturdays defeat at Luton was a bitter pill to swallow. After leading twice you would be within your rights to expect something out of the game, but naive defending in the last 20 minutes put pay to those hopes.
Salop like the visitors have proved again and again they are no mugs in terms of creating. We sit third in the expected goals (xG) table, while we rank a respectable seventh in terms of expected goals against. What’s more, if the league table was drawn up in terms of expected goal difference, Salop would be in a lofty fifth position, which is a far cry from the position we sit at present. Lee Angol has hit two in two so hopefully Askey has found a solution to the goal scoring conundrum.
Head to Head:
Salop have won four of the last five in this fixture. Salop won both home and away against Bristol Rovers during the previous campaign, scoring six goals and conceded just one in the process.
Shrewsbury Town Team News:
The only fitness concern for Salop is Amadi-Holloway who is still a doubt with a groin injury. Oli Norburn came through the Checkatrade draw with Man City on Tuesday unscathed.
Bristol Rovers Team News:
Chris Lines is out for the visitors, while Stuart Sinclair and Joe Partington are doubts. Aside from that, Bristol Rovers will be at full strength.
Both Teams To Score & Over 2.5 Match Goals @ 6/4
Shrewsbury Win 2-1 @ 17/2
It is Shaun Whalley, who continues to be Salop's main threat in the final third and it was the Scouser who won and converted a first half penalty after being bundled over bursting into the area onto a Josh Laurent pass.
Despite controlling the game well in the first half, harassing and pressing Luton into mistakes Salop changed tack in the second half, deciding to drop off and allow the Hatters more time on the ball, which as it turned out suited the hosts perfectly.
It didn't take them long to make Town pay. Six minutes after the break Jorge Grant curled home a wonderful 20 yard free kick into the top corner to cajole the home crowd into life. It was a fine strike and Town were punished for sitting off with Antony Grant conceding the free kick as the blue and amber stripes slipped further and further towards their own six yard box.
Lee smashed narrow over the bar for Luton before Salop once again took the lead in crazy circumstances. Home keeper James Shea must have thought Angol had been adjudged offside. The Hatters keeper put the ball down for a free-kick that never was and realised his mistake too late as Angol nicked the ball around the stopper and tapped into the empty net. Bizarre doesn't do it justice, but goal shy Salop will take anything at this point.
It was a good as it got in the second period for Salop though, Stacey arrowed in a close-range shot on 73 minutes and the Hatters took the lead for the first time four minutes later, Lee's 22-yard free kick deflecting off the wall and past a wrong footed Coleman.
Coleman superbly denied former Salop hitman James Collins from the spot late on, after a rash Waterfall challenge on the lively Mpanzu but all the late action was down at the wrong end for those of a Salop persuasion as the Hatters defended their lead resolutely.
If anything, this was more frustrating than anything that had gone previously for Town. We gave away cheap free kicks in the second half in dangerous areas and we were punished, but if you begin retreating towards you own goal line then you do invite the pressure that in turn concedes free kicks and chances.
Not for the first time this season Salop were careless in possession at times in the second half and looked a bit lazy tracking players. Luton were given too much time and punished Salop.
John Askey fired some shots for the first time this season post match saying "We've been improving and we saw that first half. Second half they get a goal and put us under a little bit of pressure and instead of digging in and fighting I think one or two capitulated a little bit."
"It's always a concern. It's been a concern coming into this game. I thought it was a good opportunity to get the three points. It's very disappointing but I've learned about one or two today and it's up to me to try and put it right."
Rightly Askey wasn't happy with what he saw, and I find it tough to disagree with his words. It is the first time a lack of application has really been seen this season. Town have looked good all season in a creative sense so to retreat and attempt to protect a slender lead does not play to our strengths. Lessons need to be learnt and a win put on the board quickly to stop any cracks widening further. Lets stay together, back the boys and the manager and all work together to turn this corner.
25th August 2018
On Tuesday night Luton comfortably despatched Southend to record their first win of the season. The Hatters were ahead inside 90 seconds as Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu's deflected shot fell into the path of Elliot Lee, who made no mistake from seven yards. Elvis Bwomono then brought down Lee in the area and Danny Hylton slammed home the penalty to give the Hatters a 2-0 win.
They didn’t exactly defend well last weekend against Peterborough but their overall defensive efforts at this level have been better than expected. That said Luton had a menacing attack in League Two last season, and you could say more was expected of them in the final third this season. Make no bones about it though they are no mugs in front of goal on their day.
Salop on the other hand, to coin a phrase used too much by the youngsters of today are 'Muggy' as hell in front of goal. The modern way of looking at prowess in front of goal is the xG (Expected goals) Statistic. A simple definition of xG is, if a team has a higher xG figure than actual goals scored, it will broadly be because of wasteful finishing or good goalkeeping, or both. Likewise if a team is scoring more than its xG then it could be down to moments of individual brilliance from an attacker or say a goalkeeping error.
It does feel like this team will click sooner or later, but it is becoming equally important that this happens quickly after a very, very slow start. The thing we have to grasp onto at the moment is at least the team are creating chances and have grabbed two clean sheets on the trot, but we are desperate for something to cheer in front of goal!
On the face of it Kenilworth Road is going to be a tough place to go. I probably don't see many goals in the game and have a sinking feeling it might be another tough day for Salop.
Head to Head:
Neither side has dominated this fixture in recent times. Each team has won two of the last five renewals, while they finished all-square when they last met.
Luton Team News:
Luton are likely to be unchanged from Tuesdays win over Southend.
Shrewsbury Team News:
We may see a first start for Angol up front, while Oli Norburn is fit after recovering from his dead leg. Amadi-Holloway is still struggling with his groin injury.
Shrewsbury Draw No Bet @ 9/4
Shrewsbury win 2-1 @ 14/1
I have been a massive fan of Salop since attending my first game at the Meadow in 1989 with my Dad and Brother.
Along with the rest of you I have lived the highs and the lows our football club has been through, ever since my first appearance that day against Leyton Orient and I wouldn't change any of it for the world!
The standing of Salop in the footballing pyramid may fluctuate, but my support & a newly found determination for my two beautiful kids to grow up as honoury Salopian's & equally massive Town fans will always be at the forefront of my vision!