Five talking points as Shrewsbury Town keep the pace in League One's top two
Shrewsbury reporter Lewis Cox discusses five talking points after Shrewsbury secured only a second league victory over Walsall since 1993. Rejuvenated supporters, a bolstered backline, a confident winger, in-form individuals and Shrewsbury's rivals are looked at.
1 Merry Meadow
Boss Paul Hurst reserved plenty of praise for the Town faithful after Saturday’s win and rightly so.
A few weeks ago, after the Tuesday night draw with Gillingham, Hurst sent a rallying cry to the crowd and they have responded in the right manner. A vociferous backing against Walsall – with an attendance of more than 7,500 – has shown the Meadow crowd are back on top of their game.
The noise levels were good, particularly in the second half they were chanting non-stop. It really boosts the players.
2 Clean sheets
A third clean sheet in a row (in all competitions) matches Town’s record for the season.
The stunning season has been built on a watertight defence, but leaks had emerged – particularly at home – over the last month or so.
The back four, and Dean Henderson behind them, seem to have now put things right. A season-best fourth shutout this Saturday at Scunthorpe is a tough ask but shows the league’s second-meanest defence are back to their best – and at a good time too.
3 Rodman credit
We do not often hear about tough personal battles that footballers go through. Credit Alex Rodman for showing some great form in what is a tough time for his family.
Saturday’s opening goalscorer revealed that his grandfather – a keen follower of his career exploits – was ill and that his family were finding it difficult.
The winger looks near full confidence on the field. He has come up trumps with some match-defining moments recently and is a threat in full flow. Credit to his strength of character.
4 In-form individuals
We are heading to the business end of a fairytale season.
It could be the time for edginess or nerves to creep in. Town have brushed off recent indifferent home displays and results in superb style and now look ready to attack the final 11 fixtures.
Some standout performances from Carlton Morris, Jon Nolan, Abu Ogogo, Omar Beckles and Mat Sadler have boosted Hurst’s side.
They have cranked their game up and Shrewsbury look a more dangerous and solid prospect owing to that.
5 Indifferent rivals
One league win in five for Wigan either side of their glamour FA Cup success with Manchester City means the Latics’ league form has unquestionably been hit by their superb run to the quarter-finals.
Hurst maintains that Paul Cook’s side, currently in third but with two games in hand on Town, are champions-elect.
Current pacesetters Blackburn, on the flip side, are unbeaten in seven with five victories. Tony Mowbray’s men strengthened well in January and look formidable.