AFC Wimbledon 0 Shrewsbury Town 1 - Report and pictures
Shrewsbury Town made it back-to-back League One wins as they secured a first ever victory at AFC Wimbledon, writes Lewis Cox at Kingsmeadow.
Alex Rodman’s early header was enough for Paul Hurst’s side to boast an unblemished record after consecutive 1-0 victories.
It was the least the visitors deserved for a scintillating first-half display where they could’ve been all-but out of sight.
Despite not adding to their tally, Shrewsbury were not seriously troubled for their lead and looked in confident form as almost 300 Salopians roared them on in Kingston.
Louis Dodds was given his first start of the season in replacement of the injured Bryn Morris, who underwent surgery on an injured knee.
Town fans were encouraged to see Joe Riley doing some pre-game warm-ups as he comes closer to fitness following his nasty injury picked up on the final day of last season.
Shaun Whalley and Carlton Morris were also recalled after missing out on a start at Nottingham Forest on Tuesday night.
The visitors have failed to win in any of their three trips to the Cherry Red Records Stadium, an omen Hurst was keen to end.
The Dons’ two summer recruits formerly of Millwall were injury doubts, but Jimmy Abdou - on loan from the Den - made Neal Ardley’s side, unlike Liam Trotter who was sidelined.
A breathless opening minute saw both goalkeepers worked. George Long unconvincing in keeping out C Morris while Dean Henderson saved well from Dean Parrett. James Bolton’s block on the home side’s rebound was crucial.
Shrewsbury’s livewire start was rewarded and it came in gorgeous style. An eerie silence greeted Rodman’s stooping header, as the home crowd were stunned into silence while the purring Shrewsbury crowd exploded into glee down the other end.
Jon Nolan started it in the middle of the pitch, he was pulled back but the official played a good advance. Nolan threaded it to Whalley on the right flank and his inch-perfect deep cross was plump for Rodman who eased it beyond Long.
The visitors were playing some outstanding football. Every time they got on the ball they played incisive, telepathic one-touch football that would leave Hurst and supporters feeling very satisfied.
They came and came again, cutting through the Dons at will with Dodds and Nolan at the heart of it and Whalley and Rodman willing runners. The hosts didn’t know what had hit them.
The home side brought on Lyle Taylor at the break and tried to up themselves a notch or two but Hurst’s side began just where they’d left off.
Nolan and Dodds were combining at ease to scythe through the Wimbledon midfield. Right-back Bolton, enjoying a strong afternoon, threaded a sumptuous ball into C Morris in the inside right area of the box.
The Norwich loanee stared down the eyes of Long but could only send his finish at the Dons goalkeeper.
Wimbledon attempted to knock Shrewsbury out of their stride by mixing it up physically, Brown and Bolton picked up quick-fire cautions as set-pieces peppered the Town box - to no avail.
Ardley’s side began to show more as the second period wore on. Town were pegged back as the home crowd finally had something to be encouraged about.
Hurst shuffled his pack for the first time and sent last week’s match-winner Lenell John-Lewis on for C Morris. The Norwich man was exhausted and the presence of John-Lewis helped the visitors get their foothold back in the game.
Ebou Adams replaced the tireless Dodds as Town went about safeguarding their lead.
But Shrewsbury, despite not adding to their haul, were not troubled at the back and continued their fine start to the domestic campaign as momentum remains very much with Salop.
1 - Paul Robinson slips and gifts possession to Carlton Morris. The Town No.9 rides a couple of challenges and tests George Long from outside the area. The on-loan goalkeeper spills but gathers.
3 - Dean Parrett is found from a right-sided cross and he tests Dean Henderson, who saves well. James Bolton is alive to the rebound and blocks very well.
8 - SHREWSBURY GOAL - A lovely, lovely goal. Jon Nolan rides a challenge in the middle, referee Breakspear plays the advance, he finds Shaun Whalley out on the right flank. Whalley’s deep cross is deadly accurate and perfect for Alex Rodman who stoops to head in. The away end explodes.
12 - Rodman is in the mood and smashes an effort over from 30 yards.
20 - Another big chance after more cutting Town football! Whalley chases a lost cause near the corner flag and with a deft piece of skill turns his man. Pull-back for Louis Dodds and Town’s No.10 tests Long before Rodman’s rebound deflects wide.
36 - Big chance. Dodds breaks down the right as the visitors swarm their hosts. Low cross is perfect for the unmarked C Morris who looks set to tap in but Long makes an unbelievable save.
Morris then picks rebound up on the byline but can only find the woodwork.
50 - Another big chance for Morris. James Bolton finds him with a clever ball and the forward goes one-on-one but can only shoot at Long.
62 - Rare effort from the hosts who come out of a couple of free-kicks with sub Lyle Taylor shanking well wide.
65 - Nolan bursts through beyond the defence from Mat Sadler’s high ball, collides with Deji Oshilaja who brings Nolan down. Officials unmoved.
67 - Cody McDonald feeds Parrett who cuts inside Whalley but his low shot is weak at Henderson.
90+1 - Taylor runs through onto a high ball but Sadler can get a touch on it and deflect it out for a corner.
AFC Wimbledon (4-4-1-1):
Long; Fuller ©, Robinson, Oshilaja, Kennedy; Francomb, Parrett, Abdou (Egan, 73), Barcham (Kaja, 78); Appiah (Taylor 45); McDonald.
Subs not used: McDonnell (gk), Nightingale, Sibbick, Hartigan
Shrewsbury Town (4-5-1):
Henderson; Bolton, Nsiala, Sadler, Brown; Whalley, Ogogo ©, Nolan, Dodds (Adams, 82), Rodman (Ennis, 91); C Morris (John-Lewis, 71)
Subs not used: MacGillivray (gk), Gnahoua, Jules, Shelis
Position in the table - 5th (six points from two games)
Man of the match - Jon Nolan.
Referee: Craig Breakspear
Attendance: 3,981 (297 Shrewsbury fans)