Shrewsbury Town 0 Ipswich 0 - Report

Shrewsbury Town saw out their final home game of the season against Ipswich with a rare goalless draw.

The hosts, with boss Steve Cotterill back for just his second game loudly calling the shots from the directors’ box, played out just a third goalless draw in 53 games this term in a contest again lacking in a telling final touch.

Neither side could force a winner despite a lack of attempts in an even contest. Shaun Whalley, Tom Bloxham and substitutes Dave Edwards and Daniel Udoh all went close for Shrews. James Norwood and Troy Parrott missed decent chances for the mid-table visitors.

But there was nothing to separate the first Shropshire league meeting of these sides in 33 years, as Salop closed out their home campaign with just five wins from 23 attempts.

The 0-0 draw was, somehow, the first of that scoreline at an empty Montgomery Waters Meadow this season. For Paul Cook's blunt Tractor Boys, however, it was sixth stalemate in 10 games and a ninth of the season.

Cotterill handed 17-year-old Bloxham a second start in as many days after his highly-impress full senior debut against Oxford on Saturday.

The former Leicester youngster, a first-year academy scholar, won rave reviews from Aaron Wilbraham for his first start in blue and amber.

And the former Oswestry School sixth former was again cheered on by his family, watching on via an iFollow stream in the Meadow car park.

Bloxham led the line, supported by Shaun Whalley, selected ahead of senior strikers Udoh and Curtis Main.

Donald Love was brought back into Cotterill’s side to operate at right wing-back, with David Davis moved into his natural midfield role.

Brad Walker caught the eye as part of Shrewsbury’s back three, with Ethan Ebanks-Landell missing from Town’s line-up, just a fifth time in the league the stopper has not started.

Fit-again Sean Goss made the bench, but there was no place for Josh Daniels.

Visitors Ipswich, who travelled for the initial fixture which was postponed due to a frozen pitch on February 13, arrived having ended a dire winless and goalless run of six games with a 2-1 win at already-relegated Swindon on Saturday.

Paul Cook had since replaced Paul Lambert in charge at Portman Road for their first league contest at Shrewsbury since 1988. It was all change for the Tractor Boys, now under ambitious new American ownership.

Cotterill took his seated position at the back of the Roland Wycherley Stand just ahead of kick-off in a constantly-changing climate in Shrewsbury that included heaving rain, piercing wind and glaring sunshine.

And the boss will have been happy with how his side started the contest. They were by some way the better side in the opening 15 or 20 minutes, as they penned the visitors in and moved the ball nicely under the loud orders of their manager watching on from his aerial vantage point.

Love missed a good chance to square a cross at the back post from Josh Vela’s glorious switch for Town before ex-Ipswich defender Matthew Pennington headed a Nathanael Ogbeta corner over inside 10 minutes.

Whereas Cotterill waited until the second half against Oxford to start raising the volume levels, he was the main voice dictating and organising play against the Tractor Boys, clearly audible across the empty Meadow.

Norwood, the visitors’ top scorer, headed tamely wide in their first venture forward. Town captain Ollie Norburn saw a back post goalbound strike from an uncleared corner blocked by a sea of bodies. Town and Cotterill called handball, but officials were unmoved.

Ipswich found their feet and shooting boots after half hour.

First on-loan Tottenham attacker Parrott had a strike from 20 yards beaten away well by Harry Burgoyne, before the Town keeper parried away an Armando Dobra cross-shot and his defenders were able to clear.

But the visitors were for the most part kept clear of danger, mostly thanks to Walker, who was impressive out of position at the back.

Following a quieter spell Shrews upped the ante in the final seven or eight minutes before the break. The hosts forced two very good openings to break the deadlock but were thwarted on both occasions by Ipswich keeper David Cornell.

First, Norburn’s neat through ball released Whalley on the left side of the box but Town’s No.7 had his left-footed strike blocked by Cornell.

Moments later, Love threaded a fine pass down the right flank to release Bloxham, who anticipated the chance well with a good run.

The rangy striker found himself facing Cornell one-on-one, albeit from a narrow right angle, and his low finish towards the far corner was well saved by the goalkeeper’s outstretched leg.

Cook was showing signs of being particularly unhappy with referee Lee Swabey before the break and, unsurprisingly, his side came out firing after the break.

Ipswich, briefly, had Shrews penned in this time and a deflected Gwion Edwards strike almost dropped to a white-shirted team-mate but for Burgoyne’s intervention.

Some strong play from Norwood fed Edwards for Ipswich but the latter’s rising finish was well over. Parrott then tested Burgoyne with a fierce drive from distance.

Cotterill rolled the dice on the hour as he introduced Dave Edwards and Udoh.

Shrews were sharper for the changes. Twice Whalley went through, first to unsuccessfully claim a penalty before failing to find Edwards who was free on goal.

Ipswich continued to threaten and Parrott skied a glorious chance on the stretch from Edwards’ cross with 20 minutes left. Norwood scuppered a glorious back-post headed chance moments later.

But the changes to introduce Goss and Harry Chapman late on further inspired Town, who created a glut of late openings.

First a glorious reverse pass from the excellent Chapman released Edwards but Cornell stood up to deny the midfielder. Edwards collected the rebound and crossed smartly for Udoh, who could only graze the crossbar with his header under pressure.

Then Chapman’s diving header from Goss’ cross was collected by Cornell, before the visitors missed a key late chance of their own, as striker Norwood lifted over when free in the box.

But there was to be no winner in a quiet, low-key end to a difficult home campaign.


Shrewsbury Town (3-5-2):

Burgoyne; Pennington, Walker, Pierre; Love (Edwards, 61), Norburn ©, Vela, Walker, Ogbeta (Goss, 71); Whalley (Chapman, 77), Bloxham (Udoh, 61).

Subs not used: Bevan, Williams, Main.

Ipswich Town (4-2-3-1):

Cornell; Vincent-Young (Hawkins, 90+6), McGuinness, Woolfenden, Kenlock; Downes, Dozzell; Dobra, Parrott, Edwards; Norwood ©.

Subs not used: Holy, Chambers, Bishop, Bennetts, Nsiala, Harrop.

Referee: Lee Swabey

Attendance: Zero

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