Town were 2-0 up after half hour against the in-form visitors but the lead unravelled after the official controversially sent off midfielder Josh Vela for two bookable offences, both of which Ricketts contested.
The U's netted in first-half added time, on the hour and headed an 88th-minute winner to seal the points and climb to third.
Shrewsbury continued in their new 4-3-3 formation and two of Ricketts' three forwards, Daniel Udoh and Callum Lang, scored fine goals as the boss looks to fine tune a new ruthless streak in his team.
"We have to keep going. We're very, very close to being able to take that next step as a team," Ricketts said.
"There are so many positives, there are always things we want to nip down on but, at 2-0 up if the game stays 11 v 11, we go on and win the game.
"We were in control, we weren't letting them into their rhythm and were playing on the front foot creating plenty of chances.
"We continue to evolve and improve and you can see that. We continue trying to add to our game and keep improving."
Tyne referee Stockbridge left the field to a chorus of boos and angry words from Ricketts and his staff.
Vela was booked after 10 minutes for a foul that the Shrews boss believed was going unpunished elsewhere.
And Ricketts argued that the 35th-minute dismissal was actually a foul on the Town midfielder rather than the other way round.
The Town chief added: "I was saying to the players at the end that there was so much good in everything we had spoke about.
"(We were) playing forward, creating chances, looking threatening all the time. I'm just really disappointed for them that the game got spoilt and we weren't able to go on and get the three points which we were well on our way to doing.
"The players have soaked up so much pressure for an hour of the game (with 10 men).
"It was disappointing for them as much as anything but sometimes pressure tells. Would I liked to have done it better? Of course I would."