Checkatrade Trophy: Shrewsbury Town 6 Tranmere Rovers 0 - Report and pictures
Fejiri Okenabirhie grabbed a hat-trick as Shrewsbury Town made it back-to-back victories with a 6-0 demolition job on Tranmere Rovers in the Checkatrade Trophy.
It was a nightmare return to Montgomery Waters Meadow for Micky Mellon - his first time back after leaving his role as Town chief just over two years ago.
Salop went into the break 3-0 up thanks to goals from Lenell John-Lewis, Gregg Docherty and Omar Beckles within the space of 12 minutes.
Okenabirhie stole the show after the break with three sublime finishes.
John Askey's charges top Northern Group D after two Trophy games. Their next test in the competition, which they reached the final of last campaign, is at Crewe Alexandra on Tuesday, November 13.
Town made seven changes from their much-needed 1-0 league win against Accrington Stanley at the weekend. Ollie Norburn - signed in the summer from Rovers - was one of those who stayed in the side. Lifumpa Mwandwe, who has just put pen to paper on professional terms, was among the substitutes.
As well as the shift in personnel, Salop chief Askey ditched their usual 4-3-3 formation for a 3-5-2. And it worked a treat. The hosts survived an early scare from their former forward Larnell Cole - denied by Steve Arnold after escaping the offside trap - before racing into a three-goal lead.
John-Lewis broke the deadlock in the 13th minute following a fantastic run from Docherty. The Scot, on loan from Rangers, picked the ball up on the halfway line, glided past a few red shirts and fed Town's skipper for the night, who finished coolly on the turn.
The roles were reversed for the second, which came in the 18th. John-Lewis shrugged off his marker and teed up Doherty. He made absolutely no mistake from the edge of the box, finding the top corner with a sweet side-footed strike.
Docherty was involved in the third, in the 23rd, as well. His free-kick from an acute angle was fumbled by teenage goalkeeper Patrick Wharton and Beckles capitalised, poking home from a couple of yards.
Tranmere had their second string out and you could tell, but Town still deserve credit for putting them to the sword. They nearly grabbed a fourth prior to the interval too.
Okenabirhie burst forward after a clever drop of the shoulder. The chance looked to be gone after he overhit a pass towards energetic full-back John Emmanuel but he managed to switch the ball to Ryan Haynes on the opposite flank. His powerful left-footed drive, luckily for the visitors, deflected out for a corner which nothing came from.
Unsurprisingly, Tranmere made a switch for the start of the second period - Harvey Gilmour replacing the ineffective Ben Tollitt. But Mellon was left very unhappy as a Gilmour error led to Salop's fourth.
Picking the ball up well into his own half, he tried to play it out wide but Okenabirhie easily made the interception and drilled past a hugely frustrated Wharton. That goal was Okenabirhie's first, in competitive action, in blue and amber and came as a huge relief after having a one-on-one saved just a couple of moments beforehand.
And he soon grabbed a second. Docherty, again, was the provider. His simple pass was controlled by Okenabhire and he curled the ball into the far corner. Wharton got a hand to it and, in all honesty, should have kept the shot out.
Cruising to victory, Askey decided to make a few substitutions. Young guns Ryan Sears and Ryan Barnett both entered the fray for the last half an hour while Aaron Amadi-Holloway got a quarter of an hour.
Amadi-Holloway partnered John-Lewis up top, with Okenabirhie moving to the right and then completing his treble in added-on time. His left-footed half-volley left Wharton dumbfounded.
Salop had a few wobbly moments in the clash - Cole going close another time, Beckles being booked for a deliberate handball and giving away an indirect free-kick as Arnold caught a backpass - but they can be forgiven.
Six goals and a clean sheet, what more could you ask for?
Shrewsbury (3-5-2): Arnold; Bolton, Kennedy, Beckles; Emmanuel (Sears, 61), Laurent (Barnett, 61), Norburn (Amadi-Holloway, 74), Docherty, Haynes; Okenabirhie, John-Lewis
Subs not used: Loft, Gnahoua, Mwandwe, Coleman (gk)
Tranmere (4-4-1-1): Wharton; Caprice (Jennings, 75), Sutton, Ellis, Buxton (Monthe, 67); Tollitt (Gilmour, 46), Harris, Williams, Mottley-Henry; Cole; Akammadu
Subs not used: Passant, Mullin, Norwood, Smith
Attendance: 1,379 (113 Tranmere)
Referee: Peter Wright (Merseyside)