Pre-season friendly: Shrewsbury 1 Coventry 1 - Report
Shrewsbury produced plenty of positive signs in Matt Taylor’s first friendly in charge which was open to supporters, playing out an entertaining 90 minutes with last season’s Championship play-off finalists Coventry City.
In sodden conditions certainly not befitting for a pre-season clash in late July, Ryan Bowman followed up his goal in the behind-closed-doors friendly at West Bromwich Albion with the opening goal, which was cancelled out by Kyle Palmer’s deflected leveller.
Town keeper Marko Marosi saved Matt Godden’s penalty shortly afterwards, and there were plenty of chances for both sides offering plenty of entertainment for fans who braved the conditions to head to the Croud Meadow.
A very welcome sight for the Town fans was to see the return to action for Dan Udoh and George Nurse, who missed pretty much the entirety of last season with cruciate knee ligament injuries.
Alongside those two in the starting line-up were new signings Morgan Feeney and Nohan Kenneh, while other close-season arrivals Elliot Thorpe, Jason Sraha and Tunmise Sobowale were on the bench.
There was a decent atmosphere at kick off with Coventry having brought a decent number of travelling fans, and inside the first minute Tom Bayliss seized on a clearance from keeper Brad Collins to try his luck from distance only for the Sky Blues gloveman to retreat and gather.
The visitors quickly showed their Championship pedigree with some slick passing in attack, Godden then flicking a header wide before it needed a timely Nurse interception to block a pass from reaching Ellis Simms.
But in the 13th minute it was Shrewsbury who took the lead. Bayliss again found some space on the inside left channel and hit a decent shot which Collins could only parry, leaving Bowman perfectly placed to tap home the rebound.
Coventry immediately tried to hit back with a low drive from Ben Sheaf taking a slight deflection and forcing Marosi into an excellent save.
Town were certainly looking bright going forward and Udoh fired over before another Sky Blues chance as a powerful shot from Gustavo Hamer was deflected for a corner.
When Coventry did eventually level matters just after the half hour mark there was more than a touch of good fortune about the equaliser.
A cleverly taken corner found Palmer on the edge of the box and his well-struck effort took a deflection off Bayliss which gave Marosi no chance.
Then very soon afterwards the Sky Blues had the chance to go in front after Bowman brought down Jake Bidwell in the box, but Marosi stood tall against his former club to make a fantastic save from Godden’s spot kick.
Shrewsbury came out well at the start of the second half with a neat passing move winning a corner which also caused a few problems before Coventry managed to clear.
The Sky Blues had made four changes at half time and were struggling to build up the same sort of momentum as in the first period, and Town were still looking a threat going forward.
As the hour mark approached, Udoh leapt well to win a header from which Carl Winchester connected superbly with a tricky half volley which flew narrowly over the crossbar.
Another fine Town move saw them work the ball well before the chance fell to trialist Taylor Perry, whose shot from just outside the box was over.
As the game moved into its final 20 minutes the visitors tried to regain the momentum and it took a superb intervention from Nurse to deny Simms from a golden opportunity.
Liam Kelly then produced a sweetly struck rising drive which took a deflection to take it just over the bar as the rain suddenly rose in force and intensity.
But from the resulting corner, Town broke in numbers with Udoh playing the ball in for Winchester who tried to take the ball around Collins only for the Coventry keeper to manage to smother it behind.
With just nine minutes remaining there was concern as Nurse stayed down but he was able to walk off the pitch after some treatment as he was replaced by Sraha.
There was still time for Thorpe to join the band of friendly debutants for the closing minutes as Town were left reflecting on a really promising afternoon’s work, two weeks before the big kick-off against Cheltenham.
Shrewsbury: Marosi, Flanagan, Feeney, Nurse (Sraha 82), Winchester (Thorpe 88), Kenneh, T. Perry (Bennett 77), Shipley, Bayliss, Udoh (O’Brien 85), Bowman,
Subs not used: Burgoyne, Sobowale, Hernes.
Coventry: Collins, McFadzean, Sakamoto (Burroughs 45), Simms (Obikwu 78), Sheaf (Batanwi 78), Latibeaudiere (Kelly 45), Godden, Bidwell, Eccles (Andrews 78), Hamer (Howley 45), Palmer (Eghosa 45).
Subs not used: Wilson, Lusala, Stretton, C. Perry.