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Analysis: Shrewsbury get a festive boost from ending winless streak

Shrewsbury Town needed a league win to give them a boost before heading into the festive period – and they did it with relative ease on Saturday.

Luke Leahy of Shrewsbury Town celebrates after scoring a goal to make it 1-0.
Luke Leahy of Shrewsbury Town celebrates after scoring a goal to make it 1-0.

Steve Cotterill’s side had gone six league games without a win before the visit of Lincoln City – who had enjoyed a good start to the season themselves.

The boss has remained confident that if his side kept on putting in good displays, then results would change for them.

And that began with a much-deserved win against Peterborough United last weekend in the FA Cup – which would have undoubtedly lifted spirits.

Throughout their tough run, they always remained defensively solid in every game, they were just unable to find the back of the net despite, on most occasions, having good chances too.

Based on the last two games, that problem seems to have remedied itself, with Salop netting five goals.

The link-up between Jordan Shipley and Tom Bayliss is a topic that needs to be discussed.

The pair already had a relationship before they both joined Shrews in the summer, having played with each other at Coventry City.

They seem to be on the same wavelength.

Shipley gets the ball out wide, and you can almost sense he is looking to find Bayliss, who seems to love making runs into the box from midfield.

The quality of the delivery is exquisite, but the finish last week was a thing of beauty, and then this week, Bayliss just showed more desire to get on the end of it than the defenders did to clear it.

Luke Leahy should get some credit for keeping a calm head too.

He has five goals, in all competitions, which is the same as Bayliss has this season, albeit they have all come from dead-ball scenarios.

That is a skill in its own right and whenever his team-mates talk about Leahy they don’t seem surprised about his record from the penalty spot or free-kicks – often referring to the volume of practice he does to make sure he gets it right when the opportunity arises.

Saturday’s penalty was an important one because it rewarded Salop right on the stroke of half-time for a good 10 or 15-minute spell.

But before that, for the first half an hour of the match, they had been far from their best, with the visitors starting much the brighter of the two teams.

Marko Marosi was called into action on a couple of occasions when they found a way through, and he produced a couple of smart stops.

The keeper had made a mistake last weekend against Posh which led to a goal, and he almost did the same here when he lost the ball on the edge of his own box, but Ben House could not capitalise.

Cotterill said post-match he was disappointed with the way his team started the game at Montgomery Waters Meadow – but pleased with the way they responded.

After they took the lead, the Imps never looked like getting back into it.

Salop are built on solid foundations, they are well-organised and very disciplined.

When they do take a lead, especially by a two-goal cushion, you would expect them to see the game out – which they did for the second week running.

The back three are developing quite the relationship – they are reliable and they very rarely put in poor performances which means Shrews rarely need to score too many goals to get three points.

There were still no goals for the strikers, but it is not something Cotterill will be too concerned about.

Rob Street and Christian Saydee got through an awful lot of work during their 80-minute stints at the weekend.

They show desire and determination in abundance, putting in important shifts for the team.

They were replaced by Ryan Bowman and Rekeil Pyke with just 10 minutes to go, and they made an impact when they came on – which is always a bonus.

But speaking of substitutes, Cotterill was only able to name six on this occasion as Josh Bailey dropped off the bench.

Post-match he provided an update on Aiden O’Brien and Julien Dacosta, who both went down to London to see a specialist on Thursday.

Dacosta has had an operation now and the early signs on him are positive, but it is only early days.

He said the pain he was experiencing seems to have gone for now.

Whereas, O’Brien has not required surgery, they have not had the report back yet from the specialist, but they will be making contact early next week to find out more.

Either way it is early days yet to have a definitive answer on a timeline for these injuries – but Salop will hope to have them back available as soon as possible as they cannot afford any more injuries.

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